Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Minestra Maritata: A Marriage made in Soup

Minestra Maritata

I don’t know what it is but I’ve noticed that recently I’ve been making a lot of stews and soups. I suppose that says something about me and my need for comfort at the moment. Does what you cook reflect your state of mind? Maybe so! Today I found myself making another soup. A big bold soup with buckets going on in it!

Some time ago I was looking through the shelves of my local supermarket and came across a tin of Italian Wedding Soup. An intriguing title for a soup but I liked the idea of a soup with meatballs so I bought it…it wasn’t bad. It seems that this soup is rather a misnomer as it has nothing to do with weddings but is instead a marriage of meat and green vegetables in a chicken broth. In Italian, this soup is known as Minestra Maritata. I did a little research on the soup and it would seem that there is a question over the origins of it but my interpretation is that it came originally from Spain to Italy and was adapted to include pasta. Am I right?

There is a plethora of recipes out there for this soup. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find one in the Silver Spoon cooking bible {eyes wide open}! The meat is usually meatballs or sausage. The green vegetables are mainly cabbage, kale, endive, etc. I decided to make mine with some meatballs I’d bought from James Whelan Butchers which I’d reshaped into smaller balls. What I ended up with was a hearty soup that was very filling so this served well as a supper course. Here’s how I made mine. Enjoy!

{Serves 4}

Ingredients

  • 16-20 meatballs the size of a walnut
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins of water
  • ½ cup of macaroni or riso pasta
  • 4 leaves of kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Gently fry the meatballs to brown
  • Put the remaining ingredients except for the pasta and kale in a large casserole or saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Add the meatballs and pasta. Stir frequently so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the casserole and burn
  • Continue to cook for 15 mins, adding more water if needed
  • Add the kale and cook for 5 minutes or until the kale has wilted
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve with crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine!

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