Minestra Maritata | Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs, Kale and Broccoli Rabe

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November has finally brought a chill to the air that seems to be staying, and a craving for homemade soup comes right along with it. Italian wedding soup, a mistranslation of the Italian phrase "minestra maritata" which means married soup is a favorite of ours.

After our Friendsgiving get together, which I consider "round 1", we have one more big day of cooking for Thanksgiving with family this week, and wanted to make something simple to share here in the meantime. The classic Italian-American dish is the perfect balance of hearty winter greens, meat, and simple broth. Our version has slightly larger turkey meatballs, broccoli rabe and tuscan kale. I absolutely love kale in soup because it holds its own and doesn't get too mushy.

If you need any last minute recipe ideas for this week, people are still gushing over these recent Rosemary Pear Galettes and if you missed our Friendsgiving post there's bound to be something to strike your interest there. We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Minestra Maritata | Italian Wedding Soup
serves 6

2 quarts chicken stock
1 bunch rapini, stems removed
1 bunch tuscan kale, stems removed & leaves coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
16 turkey meatballs (recipe below) 

In a large dutch oven, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add Israeli couscous and cook, uncovered until tender, about 8 minutes. Strain off chicken stock into another pot and set aside to cool. In a separate pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Working in batches, blanch rapini and kale, removing from boiling water after about 30 seconds. Set aside and rinse with cold water to cool. Return chicken stock to dutch oven and warm over medium heat. Add greens and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the couscous and meatballs and cook for 5 minutes additional. To serve, top with parmesan cheese and parsley leaves. 

Turkey Meatballs
makes 16

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg, whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper
salt and pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil. When shimmering, add garlic and onion. Cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a nonreactive bowl and add turkey, egg, parsley, oregano, red pepper, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Add breadcrumbs, working carefully not to over-mix, combine and form small meatballs, about 1’’ in diameter. Set meatballs aside. 

In a clean skillet over medium high heat, warm remaining 1 tbs olive oil. When hot, add meatballs in batches (you'll fit about 8 at a time on a large skillet) and cook until browned on one side (about 3 minutes). Flip meatballs and cook through, for an additional 3-4 minutes, or when an instant read thermometer reads 165°. Remove meatballs from skillet and set aside.