I am assuming that Italian Wedding Soup was so named due to its popularity at Italian weddings. I’d like to posit that, because of its ease of preparation, the soup is especially suitable for a shotgun wedding, when celebratory food is needed in a big fat hurry.
When a woman’s dad finds out his daughter is pregnant, and he threatens the man who made her that way with death by shotgun unless there is a wedding that evening, it’s just so not a problem. The wedding dinner will be fully cooked even before the bride’s sister has returned from Bloomingdale’s with a hastily purchased white dress.
The bride just has to haul the homemade chicken broth out of the freezer, throw together a few meatballs and rip up a little spinach and that soup will be simmering by the time Dad has loaded the Ruger .44 Carbine rifle he bought on Ebay.
Now, the bride may be the type of cook who has no homemade chicken broth, only a chicken carcass she threw in the freezer three months ago with the intention of using it make broth when she got around to it, which she never did because apparently she was too busy having sex with the man who would soon suffer a shotgun wound if he didn’t pop the question.
If this is the case, the bride could use canned broth (if she is sure it will not further agitate her already irate father) or she could push the wedding back a couple hours and do things right. (See recipe for proper, wedding-worthy broth here.)
Even with this setback, the happy couple will be married by bedtime, their stomachs full of delicious soup, their hearts full of love, and Dad’s shotgun still fully loaded.
Even if you do not find yourself in the midst of a family drama worthy of reality TV, try this recipe. You can freeze the leftovers in case of emergency nuptials.
ITALIAN (SHOTGUN) WEDDING SOUP
Serves 4-6 (a small wedding party)
For the meatballs:
3/4 lb. ground chicken breast
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (plus extra for serving)
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbls. finely chopped parsley
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
For the soup:
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 celery stalk, mediyum-diced
1 large carrot, peeled and medium-diced
1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup small pasta, or spaghetti broken into small pieces
5 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
1. Gently combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into about 24-28 meatballs and set aside.
2. Cook the onions in the olive pile over medium-low heat for about five minutes. Add the celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes, until vegetables soften.
3. Add the broth and wine and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the meatballs and the pasta and cook till meatballs are done, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Serve hot with additional cheese on the side if desired.