It was from my meatball and sausage loving sister that I first came upon the concept of "Italian Wedding Soup."
Not unexpectedly, I took extremely well to this clear chicken broth based soup which is much like the soups of my childhood. Chinese and Thai culture both use their fair share of clear chicken stock.
Reading about Italian Wedding Soup various sources disclosed that it is not actually a soup for weddings but likely a misinterpretation of Minestra Maritata. Maritata means that the ingredients go well together or "well wed."
The charm of this soup besides its name is that it's extremely fast and filling. Make sure you've got pre-made meatballs though!
Italian Wedding Soup
2 t olive oil
1/2 a minced onion
1 package of small frozen meatballs
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried majoram
1 t dried basil
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 bunch of escarole or spinach or chicory (any blend of) rinsed well and torn into bite sized pieces (don't worry about this too much)
2 carrots peeled in coins
1 chopped celery stalk
4 c chicken broth
1 chopped tomato
1/4 c parmesan reggiano
salt and freshly ground black peppar to taste
optional: orzo (a rice shaped pasta)
or serve with crusty bread
Make orzo according to the directions.
In a large pot heat the olive oil then add frozen meatballs to brown. Once they've started to brown on all sides, add minced onion and continue to fry. When the onions begin to turn translucent add the dry spices and garlic and sautee for another minute. Add the spinach, carrots, and celery and fry for another two minutes. Add the chicken broth to cover the meatball/vegetable mixture and add the tomato. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower heat to simmer the soup for at least half an hour.
Add parmesan reggiano before serving.
Italian Wedding Soup is particularly well wedded to Swedish culture also because you'll seldom find a freezer without some pre-made meatballs. I have to admit we had no orzo and used another Swedish standby -- the potato which you can toss in earlier as well if you're more for the even-more-sticking-to-your-ribs sort of one course meal.