Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cooking for Others: Italian Wedding Soup

Today the ALI blogging community grieves with Mo, whose water broke last night at just over 22 weeks.

Friends have written beautiful eloquent posts about that grief, and about Mo.  I don't know her very well, but I do know that I am heartsick tonight for her, just as I was when Rebecca's beautiful Lillian Grace was born at 22 weeks, just as I've been too many other times these past few years for my fellow bloggers.  Because as much as we find it difficult to wrap our minds around it, we are part of the interconnected web of human existence.  We are each other.

I hope that there will be lots of people taking care of Mo and her family.  I wish I were there to offer her some comfort, even if just to sit silently with her.  I would probably bring a meal, because that's what I do.  Food is easier than words for me at times like this.  (I add the vegetarian meatball version in case you're cooking for a vegetarian or someone who keeps Kosher and is OK with food cooked in a non-Kosher kitchen like mine.)

I don't know when Mo will be updating her blog, but please go leave her your love.

Italian Wedding Soup
adapted from Williams-Sonoma

2 1/2 quarts (10 c.) low-sodium broth
2 c. water
4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 T. (about 3 cloves) minced garlic, divided
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips

1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 lb ground pork

for vegetarian meatballs:
1/2 onion, chopped, roasted
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped, roasted
1/2 carrot, peeled, chopped, roasted
Salt and pepper
1 t. olive oil
1/2 cup cooked French lentils

1 1/2 t. balsamic vinegar
1 c. cooked brown basmati rice 1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/3 c. oat bran

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 T.  fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 t. nutmeg

1 T. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 t. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 T. almond milk (soy or regular work too)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white, beaten

1 1/4 cups ditalini pasta (or other small shape)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the chicken broth, water, carrots, 2 teaspoons of the garlic, and the kale in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine meatball ingredients in a medium bowl (or if using the vegetarian version, process in a food processor). Use a small cookie scoop to portion the mixture into roughly 1-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Once the carrots are tender, and while the meatballs are baking, add the pasta to the soup. Continue simmering until the pasta is tender (check the package for cooking time). Add the meatballs to the soup (heat briefly to rewarm if necessary). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each bowl of soup with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano before serving, if desired.
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  1. There is just no good way to handle something like this is there. I would say Italian Wedding Soup is a great start though. Like you, cooking is the only way I know how to respond at times like these. Thanks for passing this unfortunate news along. I'll stop over and offer my suppost.

  2. If this community were close in distance as we are in spirit, we would all be cooking for her. We would bring casseroles, clean her house, make her tea and sit with her holding her hand. That is what communities do. I just wish I could be there for her in person, and for everyone else who needs the company and support.

    My neighbor made my husband and I the best Italian Wedding soup ever after we had our twins. I was so grateful for some real, honest to goodness home cooked food that I nearly cried. Sometimes those little things are the most important.

  3. and it's because of this community why I started blogging and will continue to show my support even though I have now stopped writing. Thanks for your comment on my blog and hope to keep in touch xox. Your food always brings me back here.

  4. I'm sorry Mo is going through this. I know that even far away, your feelings of support are reaching her!

  5. This looks nourishing, in every way. I love Chickenpig's comment about making casseroles. So true.


  6. this is too sad about the baby...
    this is our all time, hands down favorite soup....I grew up on this and now my kids are too...it is a perfect gift for anybody that needs help....
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  7. This looks so cozy and yummy. Can't wait to make it...thank you!!!


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