Augusto is quite an interesting fellow with his vast knowledge of Italian gastronomy, master skill set in Morra, and his love for women and wine.  According to Augusto,  “Women and wine go hand in hand”.  “I prefer them to be bold, aged, and posess qualities that will keep you coming back for more.”  We both laughed.  As my conversation progressed with Augusto I found out that his true passion wasn’t women, wine, and nor even Morra.  It was zuppa!  His face lit up very similiar to the way my baby’s face did when I introduced him to dark chocolate gelato for the first time.   It was rather touching.  It wasn’t just any zuppa though.  It was Italian Wedding Zuppa! The very zuppa that he watched his mother make when he was just a little boy tugging at her knees.  Augusto informed me that his mother made the soup using quinoa, kale, portabellos, and turkey meatballs.  The reason so was being that his mother had poor metabolism and always encouraged healthy food choices for he and his brothers.  Augusto had only one word to describe his mother’s recipe, “Gusto!”

Augusto began telling me that many people these days are confused by the meaning of the soup, especially the circle of guys he plays Morra with.  Augusto began to elaborate that Wedding Zuppa was a mistranslation of the Italian word minestra maritata, which meant “married soup”.  He also informed me that the term was referring to the wonderfall marriage of meat and vegetables that went into the soup.  Our conversation quickly sparked as we both confessed out love for Italian Wedding Zuppa.

We lost track of time as we were both submerged in the thought of getting our hands on some of this zuppa. Before we knew it the sun just had begun to set.  Augusto wasn’t so reluctant to end the conversation, but informed me that he needed to get to get home to his wife that had been feeling a bit under the weather.  Before we parted ways he reached into his pocket. He pulled out a folded paper that was heavily wrinkled and faded.  He extended his hand and gave me the paper.  Augusto then whispered, “I want you to have this”.  Augusto patted me on the back and quickly disapeared into the distance.  I unfolded the paper that Augusto gave me.  As I began scrolling through the scribbles of writing I quickly realized that this was his mother’s recipe of Italian Wedding Zuppa.   I couldnt believe that he was so kind to share the story and recipe with me, both of which he held near and dear to his heart.

Now I’m going to share it with you!

Quinoa, Kale, and Portabella Wedding Zuppa with Turkey Meatballs

For The Quinoa:

  • 1 cup of Heirloom Red Quinoa(Or just simply Quinoa)
  • 2 cups of Water
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

Combine all ingredients in a small pot.  Turn on high heat and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture comes to a boil reduce to the heat to low.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes until all water has evaporated from the quinoa.  Remove from heat.

For The Meatballs:

  • 1 lb of Ground Turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz of Vigo Breadcrumbs with Romano Cheese
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.  The mixture should be thick enough to roll roll out small meatballs and hold its shape.  If the mixture feels thin then just add a bit more breadcrumb.  Roll out 1 oz size meatballs and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment.  Add the olive oil to a nonstick sauté pan on medium heat.  Begins sautéing meatballs working in batches of 15-20.  Cook for 2-3 minutes each batch.  Set the meatballs to the side once you have completed cooking them.  (Do not worry if the meatballs are cooked thoroughly as they will finish cooking in the soup)

For The Soup:

  • 1 Medium Size Onion(8-10 oz), Minced
  • 2 cups of Kale, Stems Removed, Blanched and Chopped
  • 6 oz of Portabello Mushroom, Medium Diced
  • 2 tbsp Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tbsp Marjoram, Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Savory, Chopped
  • 2 tbsp Oregano, Chopped
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 qts Chicken Stock
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat a large soup pot over low heat for 2 minutes.  Add olive olive, onions, mushroom, kale, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper.  Sweat the mixture for 5-7 minutes until softened.  Add chicken stock, reserved meatballs,  and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Begin whisking the soup around and slowly incorporate the egg whites into the soup.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and fold in parmesan cheese.

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