Schenectady Soup Stroll

January 28, 2017 11:13 AM

Maria Papa of Perreca's Bakery and Italian Kitchen talks about the Schenectady Soup Stroll, and shows off her delicious contribution to the fun.

Italian Wedding Soup

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Italian wedding soup, with it’s “marriage” of vegetables and meats, is, in Italy, considered an entire one-course meal. There are plenty of variations on this time-tested favorite, our variety, mixes chicken and baby meatballs for the meats, and escarole and Savoy cabbage for the greens. Of course, with any recipe from Perreca’s, we always preach, go with what you like. If you prefer Italian sausage over meatballs, or are partial to spinach and don’t much for escarole, then by all means, make the switch. 

For the Homemade Stock:

1 onion

3 medium carrots

2 stalks celery

sprig of Italian parsley

1 small granny smith apple

2 quarts chicken stock or water (plus more to cover chicken as needed)

1 whole chicken

Salt & pepper to tast

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp red pepper chili flakes

In large stock pot heat oil and add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, salt, pepper & chili flakes for about 7 minutes staring occasionally until vegetables are softened. Add store-bought chicken stock or water, whole chicken, apple cut in half, and parsley.

Bring to rolling boil for 10 minutes and then turn heat down to medium / low to simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours. Remove from stove and carefully remove chicken and set aside to cool before removing bones & skin. Remove onion, celery, carrots, parsley and apple from stock and discard.  Allow stock to cool enough remove most of the layer of fat from the top, leaving a small amount for flavor.

For the Meatballs:

3-4 slices Perreca’s Italian Bread (crust removed) or 1/2 cup Perreca’s Italian Breadcrumbs

1/2 cup whole milk or ricotta cheese + 3 Tbs

2 eggs

1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley

1 minced onion

2 minced garlic cloves

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef (72% lean if you can find it - if not, 80% lean)

Place Italian bread chopped into small pieces (or bread crumbs) and milk (or ricotta) together in a bowl. Stir together allowing bread to soak up moisture from the milk or ricotta. Set aside.

In a separate smaller bowl, mix together eggs, parsley, onion, garlic, grated parmesan, salt, pepper and remaining 3 Tbs of whole milk (or ricotta).

Place ground pork and ground beef into bowl with bread / milk mixture and pour egg mixture over the meat. With cold hands (have a large bowl of ice water on the counter and dip hands into the ice water periodically — this will keep the fat in the meat from being effected by the heat in your hands and you will get a more tender finished meatball), incorporate all ingredients paying attention not to over work the mixture. Again, this is to ensure a tender and don’t a tough meatball for your finished product.

Using a small ice-cream scoop, portion out meatballs onto a baking sheet.

Place meatballs in a pre-heated 475 degree oven to give the meatballs an outer searing (5 minutes for mini-meatballs for the soup / 10 minutes for larger meatballs going into sauce).

Remove semi-cooked meatballs from oven and finish off cooking the meatballs in either hot soup (see step below), or hot tomato sauce for a Sunday classic spaghetti and meatballs).

Soup Assembly:

Stock from above recipe — or use store-bought

Chopped Chicken (boneless and skinless)

1 Head Escarole (chopped and blanched)

1/2 head Savoy Cabbage (chopped and blanched)

Meatballs from recipe above

1 cup dry pastina (ancini de pepe or orzo)

Heat the stock to a gentle boil and add 1/2 cooked meatballs previously seared in the oven to finish cooking in the hot stock. This step will add an additional dimension of flavor to your finished soup.  The baby meatballs will only take about 7 minutes to finish cooking in the hot soup. Next add the dry pastina to cook right in the soup. Lastly, fold in chopped and blanched  escarole and cabbage to wilt in the hot soup just before serving. Blanching the greens ahead of time in a separate pot of water keeps them from adding a bitter flavor to your soup.

Once portioned into bowls, some added extra virgin olive oil and / or grated parmesan may be added to taste.

Serves 6-8.


Joel Landas

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