Instead of going out, or ordering in. Friday nights we like to try something new using what we get from our CSA.
Tonight I made a cross between Italian Wedding Soup and Escarole and Bean Soup, from that enormous head of escarole.
In other words, I made do with what we have.
The joy of cooking, derived from three seasons of CSA boxes, is the confidence that comes from knowing what may work together.
This recipe highlights that.
The escarole and bean soup was the base. But, I wanted some meat in this dish, so I knew Italian Wedding Soup included meatballs. A stop at Trader Joe’s while out this afternoon netted me a bag of their turkey meatballs, as I didn’t have anything else.
Trust me on this one. Next time I will make my own meatballs. Years ago I would have loved them. Now, they are a bit gummy, to say the least. Still, they added flavor to the dinner.
A stop at the Perfect Pour got my husband an Italian wine to serve with dinner.
A Verdicchio Vermentino blend. We are learning about Italian wines. Between wine dinners at Facci and Iron Bridge University we are slowly getting versed in the varietals from Italy. See, we really do occasionally go out to restaurants.
As for the soup, here is how I made it.
Start with the Soffrito (or the base). The Italian soffrito is the lightly sweated base of vegetables that create the flavor of a meal.
I used an onion, a shallot, three cloves of garlic and a carrot. All chopped finely and cooked over low heat in extra virgin olive oil.
Once it gets translucent and released its flavor, I added a dozen Campari tomatoes, quartered. You can use any types of tomatoes. I am saving my freshly canned and frozen stuff for later this winter.
One quart of chicken stock. I make my own from the chickens we get from local farms. Two teaspoons Italian seasoning. 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. A package of those meatballs. Let it all simmer for at least 20 minutes. The tomatoes will break down and color the broth.
Chopped escarole and two cans of organic cannellini beans, and five more minutes of cooking, until the escarole wilts.
Serve with grated cheese. I used pecorino Romano this time.
Better than anything Olive Garden serves, that’s for sure.