(Source: family recipe)

This is a family favorite. We just call it "escarole soup" but years ago I saw the recipe in the R.S.V.P. section of Bon Apetit with this name. Since then I've seen many requests on various food BBs for it as "Italian Wedding Soup." The Bon Appetit article said that it was called that because meat was an expensive commodity for Italian peasants and used sparingly. This soup is thus an extravagent one (chicken AND meatballs!) suitable for a once-in-a-lifetime event such as a wedding. It is a bit unusual-looking to the uninitiated because of the escarole and the egg/cheese mixture dropped into the soup, but it is sooo good. Serve with Italian bread and extra cheese.
Chicken soup:
Boil chicken with celery and carrots (salt and pepper to taste), skimming off any froth. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a dish and strain the broth if necessary. When the chicken is cool enough, remove the meat from the bones and break into bite-sized pieces.
Clean and trim the leaves. Boil in a large pot of water until tender. Drain. The drained escarole can be frozen for later use.
Meatballs (for about 1 lb ground beef):
Mix 1/2 c plain dry bread crumbs with parsely (3T) and add water until the crumbs are moistened. Add this to beef, along with 1 egg, 1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 1/3-1/2 c cheese (Romano or Parmesan), 2 tsp salt, and pepper.
Egg/cheese mixture:
Blend 2-3 eggs together and mix in about 1/4 c grated cheese (R or P).
Putting it all together:
Bring the broth to boiling. Form bite-sized balls from the ground beef mixture and drop into the soup. When they are cooked through, add the carrots, celery, and escarole. Reheat to a gentle boil. While slowly stirring, add the egg/cheese mixture.

Updated: April 7, 1996
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