Friday, September 23, 2011

Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. Italian Wedding Soup served with Herb and Garlic Brioche

Italian Wedding Soup served with Herb and Garlic Brioche.
(please note that the pictures will be coming soon...can't find my file!)

*The Only PreMade Dried Pasta I buy!

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

I grew up on brothy soups. My mom would always make her chicken soup, Italian style of course and she would laddle it on top of cooked rice. We would pile on the freshly grated Parmesan Cheese or Romano Cheese and have some Italian bread around and enjoy our soup. Some people wait to make soups when it's cold outside. My mom made it all year round. It was a magical quick dish for her and it would fill our bellies. I will later share that soup for you but that is not the soup I want to make for this challenge. I decided I am going to make Italian Wedding Soup. Yes this soup is served at weddings but my family also has it for Thanksgiving before the big Turkey Feast. It just seems natural because you can use Turkey to make Italian Wedding Soup if you don't want to make it with Chicken. However since Chickens are readily available and I have no use for a 13 pound Turkey, I am going to make the Chicken Italian Wedding Soup.

Let's make a side note for those precious little pasta that goes in the soup, the best to use is Acini di Pepe.  Basically meaning Peppercorn Balls.  You can use Ditalini, but I like Ditalini more in legume soups with lentils or cannelini beans.  But I love those little pearl pasta, Acini is my favorite and if you noticed the poster above, I choose to buy Barilla Dried Pastas the most.

This recipe will include the Italian Wedding Soup accompanied by Peta's own recipe for Herb and Garlic Brioche. It looked divine when she made it so I am going to challenge myself to make my own Brioche. This is going to make a lot, so looks like I'm inviting people over for dinner. The Herbs and Garlic in the Brioche is going to be perfect to pair up with the Italian Wedding Soup.

This is a side note: You can make your own Chicken Stock and you can certainly buy it already made. However you choose to do it the end result may vary in taste but certainly taste great no matter what. Also you can make your own mini meatballs or you can buy them. We have a great Italian import store that makes them perfect for this dish. You can use ground meat using pork, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb or even a combination. It's up to you.

I chose to make my own stock just like my mom. I am also going to make my own meatballs, they are easy to make. This is a straight up recipe from my mom, how we've eaten it always. This is Authentic Baby!

You can decide to make the Brioche before or after the soup. I choose to make it after since I want my soup's flavors to mingle for awhile but not reducing it too much. So let's start off with the recipe for the Brioche....

Peta's Herb and Garlic Brioche

2 cups all-purpose plain flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk, warm
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Italian mixed herbs
1 teaspoon freshly crushed garlic


1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
2. Slowly mix the warm milk, butter, herbs, garlic and 2 of the eggs into the flour mixture.

3. Knead until the dough is smooth. The dough is ready to rise when it is completely smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
5. Transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface and punch it down a few times.
6. Finely chop the fresh herbs and mix with the garlic.
7. Press the dough out into a rectangle then spread with the chopped herbs.

8. Roll up like a swiss roll and place on a lined baking tray.

9. Cover the pan and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
10. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 400°F.

11. Remove the dough covering, gently brush the loaf with the remaining beaten egg, bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the brioche is golden brown. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then transfer it to a wire cooling rack.

Italian Wedding Soup

4 Slices White Bread
2/3 cup of Milk
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Pounds of Ground Beef or Turkey
1 Medium Onion, finely diced
3 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon dried or chopped fresh parsley


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 cups finely diced carrots
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4 to 4 1/2 quarts (16 to 18 cups) chicken broth, homemade or purchased
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
  • 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach or fresh chopped kale or spiniach
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 2/3 cups of Acini di Pepe Pasta (they look like little round pearls) or you can use Ditalini


Meatball Prep:

Combine the bread, egg, milk, and salt, stirring till everything is well moistened. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the ground meat, onion, cheese, and herbs. Mix gently till thoroughly combined.
Shape 1 inch tiny meatballs. Using a level teaspoon scoop makes about the right size (you can use a cookie scooper if you want to). Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheet, and refrigerate them while you prepare the soup.
Soup Prep:
Using a large pot, at least 6-quart capacity. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of the pot, and add the onions and carrots. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the broth and herbs, bring to a simmer, and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Add the frozen chopped spinach or chopped fresh kale or spiniach, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, total; the soup will take awhile to come back to a simmer, due to the frozen spinach. Help it along by breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.

Gently drop the meatballs into the soup. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes or so, then stir in the pasta, cooking till it's al dente.

Add salt and pepper to taste,

Serve the soup garnished with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese.

Buon Appetito,


  1. I love Italian Wedding Soup. Homemade broth is worth the extra effort, isn't it? Thanks for visiting my blog, and for all the kind words.

  2. Homemade broth is always the best for sure!