It was a balmy 6 degrees outside when we woke up this morning. The day’s high temp registered at 22 degrees. It’s freezing here in New York to say the least. And when it’s freezing we cook and eat soup … and lots of it.
I had some ground beef out defrosting so I clicked on over to Epicurious.com and did a search for soups. The first to catch my eye was an Italian Meatball Soup referred to in Italian as Minestra Maritata. Little meatballs, greens, small pasta shapes … I knew it was something my kids would love. In fact, I was sure it was a soup any kid would love which is why I immediately thought of the Kids’ Cooking Academy presented by Frigidaire.
If you haven’t already heard of this promotion, Frigidaire has created a web site, Kids’ Cooking Academy, featuring recipes, daily tips and how-to videos all designed to get kids involved in the kitchen. You can join the Academy and Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children plus you’ll be entered to win some prizes being offered in daily drawings. Frigidaire will even donate an additional $1 every time you visit the Kids’ Cooking Academy through April 25, 2011.
This soup is definitely something kids will enjoy eating when you alone make it for them, but just imagine how much more they’d enjoy it if they had a hand in making it too? My daughter helped out by washing the vegetables, stirring the broth and vegetables as they cooked and I even had her shape the beef mixture into the mini meatballs she and her brother would later ask for seconds of.
There were lots of “mmms” and “yums” exuding from their little mouths as they ate and they even used a straw to sip the broth once they’d polished off the flavorful meatballs, pasta and veggies. But my daughter didn’t hesitate to ask, ”This is spinach, right Mommy?” Heaven forbid I said the escarole greens were not in fact spinach–she’d without a doubt get irked by hearing a new veggie’s name … what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her–I quickly answered “Yup, of course it is!” So that she picked up a heaping spoonful and gulped the soup down … “Mmmm, my hair is already shiny, but now it’s getting even shinier, right? My friend doesn’t eat any vegetables and her hair is never shiny. You see how mine is Mommy?”
**I’m submitting this recipe to Souper Sundays hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.
Minestra Maritata (aka Italian Wedding Soup or Italian Meatball Soup)
Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious.com
1/2 head escarole (about 1/2 pound), washed well and cut into 1-in. pieces
Handful of baby spinach leaves
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups water
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
For the Meatballs
1 pound ground veal or beef
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Small onion, very finely minced
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Meanwhile, make the meatballs by combining the ground meat, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape the mixture into tiny balls, LESS than an inch in diameter.
When the greens and carrots are almost tender, stir in the pasta and return the soup to a brisk simmer. Drop the meatballs into the soup, then cover the pot, lower the heat and cook, stirring gently, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve hot with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled over top if so desired.