When serving Italian Wedding Soup, one of the stories I love to share with dinner companions is that it has nothing to do with weddings.
In fact, the Italian word for this soup — maritata — has been a disastrous translation for Americans, like me, who speak the kind of Italian you’ll find only at the supermarket: “spaghetti,” “penne,” “ricotta,” “Prosciutto.”
Really, the terminology for Italian Wedding Soup — minestra, meaning “soup,” and maritata, meaning “married” — translates to “soup married” or “married soup.”
Simply put, the ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup “marry well together” with a distinct flavor of basil, garlic and good quality beef.
Italian Wedding Soup, a close cousin to the Spanish albondigas soup in which meatballs are cooked with the addition of rice, packs even more flavor from a balance of parsley and olive oil when preparing the meatballs.
You can use this meatball recipe for the soup, at right, or adapt it to a homemade spaghetti dinner or meatball sub.
What else “marries” or goes well — sposa bene — with Italian Wedding Soup? A sore throat, a rainy day, a hungry stomach or just an occasion to show someone you care.
Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at http://clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com or via email at email@example.com.