I got a nice surprise the other night - Italian Wedding Soup! (Yes, sometimes it pays to just shut up and let somebody else make the meatballs for a change.)
As I didn't slave over the zuppa myself, and my culinary associate is the (strangely) secretive type, I cannot offer a recipe, not this recipe.
But here is a reasonable alternative, off the Food Network site.
Note on the meatballs: One reason I've chosen to include this particular recipe is its use of bread rather than breadcrumbs. To me this is crucial; in fact, it's non-negotiable. Meatballs that are made with bread have a much lighter texture than those that are made with breadcrumbs. (One day soon I hope to at last provide my own recipe for this blog's namesake. I need a reliable photographer to document the messy process as my hands will be otherwise engaged.)
Note to my (strangely) secretive culinary associate: That was one fine mess of soup, and some very tasty meatballs. I thank you.
About the soup's name: Near as I can determine, the soup has nothing to do with Italian weddings. It appears the name is an erroneous translation of Minestra Maritata, which basically refers to the soup's meat and greens going (or marrying) well together.
Recipe for Italian Wedding Soup
From Giada De Laurentiis
For the meatballs
1 small onion, grated
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 slice fresh white bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper
For the soup
12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound curly endive, coarsely chopped (1 pound of escarole would be a good substitution)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese, beef and pork. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons for each, shape the meat mixture into 1-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet.
To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and curly endive and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the curly endive is tender, about 8 minutes. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the soup in a circular motion. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin stands of egg, about 1 minute. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Finish soup with parmesan cheese if desired.