Italian Wedding Soup

I really wanted Minestrone soup so my fiancé decided to whip up this gem instead.  Like Minestrone, it’s very hardy but with a twist.  Check it out and see if it intrigues you like it intrigued us.  This recipe was from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine: Issue 115, March + April 2012.

Note: This isn’t a recipe for the faint of hearts.  It takes some time and preparation.  So, if your starving, don’t make this one.  If you have time to make an amazing homemade soup, this is the soup for you.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded and bulb halved, cored and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 oz. of dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 4 oz. of ground pork
  • 4 oz. of 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of water


  • 1 slice of hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed and torn into 1″ pieces
  • 5 tbsp. of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tsp. of finely grated onion
  • 1/2 tsp. of finely grated garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 6 oz. of 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp. of minced fresh oregano
  • 1 cup of ditalini pasta
  • 12 oz. of fresh kale, stemmed and cut into 1/2 pieces (about 6 cups worth)

1. Prepare all your ingredients.

Fennel Bulb chopped above.  This interesting vegetable smells like licorice.  It’s a strong and has a bold flavor that really helps make the broth.

2. Start the broth.  Heat the onion, fennel, garlic, porcini, beef and bay leaf in a Dutch over medium-high heat; cook and stir frequently until meat is no longer pink.  This should take 5 minutes.

3. Add wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook for 1 minute.

4. Add chicken + beef broth to the mixture.  Add water and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Now work on the meatballs…

5. Combine bread, cream, Parmesan, onion, garlic, and pepper to taste in a bowl.  Using a fork, mash mixture into a pasta.

6. Then using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat pork, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt on high speed until smooth and pale.

7.  Add bread mixture, beef and oregano into the bowl.  Mix on medium-low until just incorporated.

8. Using moist hands and create little meatballs. The mixture should make 30-35 meatballs.

Return to your broth….

9.  Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer.  Set over large bowl and press the solids to extract as much as liquid as possible.  Wipe out Dutch oven and return broth to pot.

10. Return broth to simmer over medium-high heat.  Add pasta and kale; cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

11. Add meatballs and return to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally until meatballs are cook through and pasta is tender.  This should take 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!!!




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