The idea that this soup is served at Italian weddings is a misconception that has penetrated the psyche of an American public yearning for a lost European past, clinging to an imagined memory of nuptual celebrations – families, friends, bride and groom sharing a broth filled with meat, vegetables and pasta, just as their parents and grandparents had done for generations before in the small towns and villages of Italy.
The thing is, it never happened. None of it.
To understand, you must first learn two Italian words. Two words that name a soup and unlock a secret – “Minestra Maritata”. Translated into English, these words simply mean ‘Married Soup”.
Not Wedding Soup. Married Soup. You see it now, don’t you? How the mistranslation of one simple word can create a nationwide collective false memory.
But why this name, Minestra Maritata? What marriage does it celebrate, if not that of two people in love?
That is the secret of Minestra Maritata, my friend, and to learn it, you must journey to the past. A past when the Cosa Nostra ruled Sicily, families warred for control of their own piece of the American Dream and one chosen family held the secret of a very special soup. (I warn you, the video you are about to see is shocking. You may want to have small children and naive cooks leave the room…)
Salt and pepper to tastePreheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the ground chicken and turkey, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine. Using a mini scooper, drop meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside. (Try not to eat too many while the soup is cooking.)
In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls. Serve with extra grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top.
- Jersey Girl learns the secret. Maybe she asked Tony Soprano…
- Creative Loafing makes some nice looking meatballs
- Cinammon and Spice adds beans to her soup
- Whole Foods’ recipe uses a meat mixture and adds tomatoes to the broth
- Here’s an Italian recipe – nice.
- Lime in the Coconut uses pork and beef and adds tomatoes and beans. That’s a big wedding…
- Our Italian Table uses escarole – seems more “Italian” to me than spinach
- Amy makes her grandma’s recipe and uses nutmeg in the meatballs