Home cooking: Italian Wedding Soup

April 09, 2013

Joseph Ash, of Martinsburg, W.Va., grew up in Oakland, Md., the sixth of eight children of Robert and Mary Ash. He grew up having to pitch in where needed, such as helping with dinner. Ash said he learned to cook on a wood-burning cook stove.

Now he cooks in a more conventional kitchen. Ash has lived with an Italian roommate, Domenick Palmer, for more than 30 years. Ash and Palmer are members of the Dan DiMucci Lodge of the Sons and Daughters of Italy, and the two participate in many Italian traditions.

This recipe is one of those traditions, he said. This was a family recipe handed down to Domenick from his mother, Rose Palmer.

"Italian Wedding Soup is the start of our holiday dinners," Ash said. "Each bite should contain broth, pieces of chicken, meatballs and escarole."

Ash said he and Palmer host their families' annual Thanksgiving dinner.

"The dinner starts with Italian Wedding Soup, salad, spaghetti with meatballs and braciole (an Italian meat roll), then followed up with the turkey, ham and all the trimmings and ending with plenty of desserts," Ash said. "It is no wonder that Thanksgiving dinner lasts three to four hours."

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor

Italian Wedding Soup

For meatballs:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 large egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons oil

For soup:

1 bunch escarole, chopped coarsely

6 cups chicken broth

4 cups cooked chicken, chopped

To make meatballs, combine ground beef, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic and parsley. Make miniature meatballs, no larger than the end of your little finger.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown meatballs until completely done. Alternatively, you can bake meatballs on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven. Set aside.

Blanch the escarole in a large pot of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, then drain.

Heat broth and chicken in large soup pot, add meatballs and escarole. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 25.

— Courtesy of Joseph Ash, of Martinsburg, W.Va. He is a member of the Dan DiMucci Lodge of the Sons and Daughters of Italy. For more information about the group, contact Glenda at 304-263-5004 or Domenick at 304-264-8678.

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