Escarole and meatball soup

(Debra samuels for the boston globe)
November 12, 2008
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Serves 4 as a main course

Often referred to as Italian wedding soup, this hearty bowl has been mistranslated for many years. The name, minestra maritata, really means "married soup," which refers to the pleasing combination of vegetables and meatballs. Light but substantial, the soup contains escarole, or curly bitter greens, and pork and beef meatballs simmered in homemade or prepared chicken stock. Near the end of cooking add dried pasta - ditalini, bow ties, orzo - and top with shredded Parmesan. Add crusty bread and salad and you have a satisfying supper. No license required.


8 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, thickly sliced
1 celery stalk, thickly sliced
1. In a soup pot over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil.

2. Lower the heat and add the carrots and celery. Simmer for 30 minutes.


1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and more to taste
1 head escarole, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup small pasta (ditalini, bow ties, orzo)
Extra shredded Parmesan (for sprinkling)
1. In a bowl, combine the beef, pork, eggs, parsley, Parmesan, garlic, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. With your hands, shape small balls (about 1 tablespoon each). You should get about 40.

2. Add the meatballs and escarole to the simmering soup. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally, or until it is tender but still has some bite. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan. Adapted from Alice Taverna

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