Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
For the Meatballs:
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground ground pork
1 small yellow onion, grated
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (more if needed)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Soup:
1 whole roasting hen
3 quarts homemade chicken stock, canned low-sodium chicken broth, or a combination of the two
1-2 heads Escarole, trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 lightly packed cups)
1 batch of uncooked meatballs (see above)
1/2 lb cooked Ditalini pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
First:
Roast the chicken. Either serve the roasted chicken for Sunday dinner, reserve leftover meat for soup and stew the carcass to make broth. Alternately, use prepared stock and cooked, shredded, chicken breast.

Make the Meatballs:
Gently mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Don’t overwork it. Using teaspoon-sized scoops, form the meat mixture into small balls about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Make the Soup:
Bring the stock or broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Carefully add the meatballs, one by one, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Do not stir the pot at this point or you’ll risk breaking up the meatballs! Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.

Add the escarole and continue to simmer until wilted, about 2-3 minutes more.

Add the cooked chicken and pre-cooked pasta to the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.

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Homemade Vegetable Soup

Homemade Vegetable Soup

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)

2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 4)

1 1/4 cups chopped celery (about 3)

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)

3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch thick diced potatoes (from about 3 medium)

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups chopped frozen or fresh green beans

1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh corn

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.

Pour in broth (if you want lesser ratio of broth use 3 cans then only 3/4 cup of the 4th can) and add tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.

Add green beans, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Add corn and peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Red Kuri Squash Soup

Red Kuri Squash Soup
1 1/2 pounds red kuri squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into thin wedges

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Chopped toasted pecans and small marjoram leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large saucepan, combine the cubed squash with the chopped onion, bay leaf and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the fennel wedges with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for about 25 minutes, until the fennel is tender and starting to brown.

Discard the bay leaf from the soup. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and warm over low heat. Stir in the butter and season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the roasted fennel, pecans, marjoram leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

Make Ahead! The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.