300 Sensational Soups
by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds
In the steel town where Carlo grew up, wedding soup — rich stock with tiny meatballs flavored with Parmesan and prosciutto — was the favorite course at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
• Baking sheet, lined with parchment paper
• 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, shredded
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 egg, beaten
• 4 oz lean ground beef
• 4 oz regular or lean ground pork
• 4 oz lean ground veal
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 oz prosciutto, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, minced
• 1/2 tsp salt
• Pinch ground nutmeg
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 10 cups chicken stock
• 1 head escarole, thinly sliced
• 3/4 cup acini di pepe pasta
• Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. In a large bowl, combine bread and milk; let soak for 2 minutes. Add egg, beef, pork, veal, cheese, prosciutto, parsley, garlic, onion, salt, nutmeg and pepper to taste; mix with your hands until well combined.
2. In a small skillet, saute a small spoonful of the meat mixture over medium heat until no longer pink. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the meat mixture with salt and pepper, if necessary. Roll meat mixture into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, and place on prepared baking sheet.
3. In a large pot, bring stock to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly add meatballs, keeping liquid at a simmer so that the meatballs are moving and don't stick together. Add escarole and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and escarole is tender, about 10 minutes. Add pasta and simmer until tender to the bite, about 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
4. Ladle into heated bowls and garnish with cheese, if desired.
Tip: Parmesan's rich, nutty flavor is a welcome addition to many soups. By far the best Parmesan is Parmigiano-Reggiano, made in Italy. While it's not cheap, the flavor is well worth the price. You should always buy your cheese in a large chunk and grate it yourself.