Not surprisingly, soon following February 14th, a few nuptial notices float across my desk, are announced across the airwaves and nestle snuggly into my inbox. The world appears flushed and winsome, as love has reclaimed a foothold in the softening soil of Spring. I’m putty when told of a tale ripe with devotion, adoration and worship—especially if the odds are against the success of the courtship.
Predictably so, in the weeks that follow, I’m awash with the rosy glow, merely a reflection of someone else’s glee, and satiated by bucketfuls of my own take on a Love Potion #9. It would be more aptly named Love Portion #9, because once made, I’m addicted to repeated refills.
Italian Wedding Soup is something that needs to be both made for a crowd and in ample quantities for leftovers. If you make this, I swear you risk a proposal or two from your table—if not simply the undying devotion of those who sip from your spoons.
Un milione di baci!
Italian Wedding Soup
2 large yellow onions, diced
3 stalks of celery diced
4 cloves minced garlic
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
1 ½ lbs. Italian chicken sausage (spicy or mild depending on your crowd), casings removed and rolled into mini meatballs
64 oz chicken stock (best you have) maybe more, depending upon how thirsty your pasta is
28 oz chopped tomatoes
Four 15 oz cans of rinsed beans: pinto, cannellini, kidney and black-eyed
One tied bundle of thyme sprigs
9 oz fresh spinach
8 oz dried pasta (today I’m using quinoa shells) or ½ lb of fresh
Salt & Pepper
Fresh parmesan cheese
The best chewy, fresh sourdough bread you can lay your hands on
Haul out your largest stock pot. Sauté onions, garlic and celery with a few good glugs of olive oil and S&P until translucent. Add meatballs to brown slightly. Toss in carrots and stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
Chug in the stock, tomatoes, beans and thyme. Simmer for 90 minutes.
Take a bath.
Dance to Frank Sinatra.
Set the table, write a love letter and dress in something with no waistline.
Ten minutes before serving, pitch in the spinach and pasta, keeping the soup at a rolling simmer. Stir occasionally.
Pour small plates of the best olive oil you have and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place these on opposite ends of the table along with your fabulous bread.
Remove the thyme twigs from the kettle. Ladle up massive soup bowls full of the soup and grate a liberal dose of parmesan cheese over the top.