Incidentally, according to the Italian Food Site at about.com, the name “wedding,” is a mistranslation and actually refers to the marriage of flavors; this soup is not traditionally served at Italian weddings.
To save time in the preparation of this soup, you can avoid chopping onions by using dehydrated onions. Garlic is readily available chopped in jars, or it’s available dried like onions. Diced carrots and chopped celery are available frozen, which save chopping time; they are partially cooked, so cooking time is shorter.
Shortcut Italian Wedding Soup
8 cups beef broth, canned or made with granular beef bouillon
1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes, or substitute 1 finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced carrots, (optional)
1 cup celery, diced, (optional)
3 cups escarole leaves, washed, drained, and torn into small pieces (see note)
32 meatballs from the Meatball Module
1/2 cup diced zucchini, (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring the beef broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the onion flakes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; let simmer for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, celery, escarole, and meatballs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the zucchini and continue to cook 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper if necessary, then ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Note: escarole is difficult to find in some areas. Southern greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, or kale are a good substitute. You may also substitute spinach, but it cooks very quickly, so add it to each bowl, then pour the hot soup over it; it will cook in the hot broth. If you are using frozen carrots and celery which are partially cooked, add them with the zucchini.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 182 Calories from Fat 95
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 52% Protein 31% Carb. 17%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 53 mg
Sodium 1087 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 14 g
Vitamin A 23% Vitamin C 13% Calcium 0% Iron 4%