Updated: Oct 13
What Can Soup Teach You About Marriage?
In Pittsburgh, wedding soup is served in nearly every Italian restaurant and is a popular menu item at…well…weddings.
The Italian name for this soup is minestra maritata and it refers to the marriage of meat and broth.
Most wedding soups don’t appeal to me--watery broth with sparse meatballs, soggy spinach, and a few puny pieces of pastina.
Not a great metaphor for a strong marriage.
A marriage that endures needs to be hardy and robust, fortified with bigger meatballs and huge chunks of chicken.
A marriage that endures needs stracciatella (grated Parmesan and egg whisked together and stirred into the boiling soup). The English translation of this word means “tear-up,” which, depending on what you want to ” tear-up,” could be good or bad. But the prefix “stra” in Latin means “extra,” and every marriage needs a little extra somethin’-somethin’ to keep it going.
A marriage that endures needs a bit of color, some bright spots, and a little liveliness. That’s what sliced carrots do for this soup. They add color, sweetness, and some tenderness, too (also paramount for a lasting partnership).
Of course, every healthy marriage starts with a solid foundation. You must come from good stock and so must your mate.
Start the foundation of this wedding soup with good, homemade stock, or the best store-bought broth you can find. Marry all the ingredients together and enjoy it. It's the perfect union.
Recipe for Hearty Wedding Soup
This recipe for wedding soup is one that will endure and one to be envied,
much like the recipe for a good marriage.
3 quarts chicken stock (12 cups)
1 cup sliced carrots (cut on the bias ¼ inch thick)
46 1-ounce meatballs (1 meatball recipe)
3 cups roasted chicken, shredded
16 ounces chopped spinach
½ cup pastina
¼ cup grated romano or parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
In a large stockpot, heat chicken stock over medium-high heat. Once stock comes to a boil, add meatballs. Cook meatballs until they float to the top.
Add carrots and let boil for about 7-8 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs and grated cheese together. Whisk egg and cheese mixture into boiling broth.
Add shredded chicken.
Add pastina to boiling broth following the instructions on the back of the package.
Lower the soup to a simmer and add the chopped spinach. Stir and serve.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
If you plan on storing this soup for a couple of days, you may want to cook and store the pastina separately, The reason for this is pasina tends to suck up the broth over time. Simple reheat your soup and add a few spoonfuls of cooked pastina before serving.
I like to roast chicken (skin-on, bone-in) with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Many times, I skip this step and buy a rotisserie chicken from the market. Some store-bought things are better and easier than doing it yourself. (Save the bones and make stock.)
Chicken Stock is never better store-bought, but I found a product that is almost just as good and I use it all the time: Better Than Bouillon.
The meatballs in this wedding soup can be made ahead of time. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the meatballs on the sheet and freeze. Once completely frozen, transfer the meatballs into a freezer bag and freeze. Between using a rotisserie chicken, good chicken base, and frozen meatballs, your wedding soup will come together like a shotgun wedding minus the embarrassment.