Fresh Ideas: Ingredients ‘marry well together’ in Wedding Soup

Photo by Helena Brigman  --  Italian Wedding Soup's ingredients 'marry' well together, thus the soup's name. Show caption
Photo by Helena Brigman -- Italian Wedding Soup's ingredients 'marry' well together, thus the soup's name.

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 hbrigm1@tigers.lsu.edu.