Editor's note: Last week when Brandy submitted her post for meatballs, she included a photo of those meatballs in a soup which looked amazing to my virus-stricken appetite. I'd been sick for nearly 2 weeks at that point and hot, salty, fragrant soup was the only thing I was interested in eating. She sent the recipe and I prepared the meatballs and soup a couple nights later - it was delicious, warming and a very nice change of pace from chicken noodle. Four stars, Brandy!
Italian Wedding Soup
2 quarts chicken broth
pinch of cayenne (more to taste)
1 bunch Italian kale (dark green, flat leaves)
1 batch pre-baked meatballs
1 cup parmesan cheese
In a large stock pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. As it is heating, grate the carrots and chop the kale into strips about 1 inch wide. When the broth begins to boil, turn it down to a simmer and add the carrots and kale.
Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, scramble the egg, then thoroughly mix it with the parmesan cheese. Set this aside for a few minutes. After the carrot shreds have softened and the kale has turned a bright green, add the precooked meatballs and bring the soup back up almost to a boil. When it is hot, add the egg and cheese mixture, stirring as you add so that the egg does not become stringy as in egg drop soup. You want the egg to disappear into the soup. Mixing it with the cheese and stirring well as you add it can help with that.
Cook for about 1 minute after you add the egg and cheese, stirring gently but making sure to stir from the bottom up. The cheese tends to want to sink to the bottom. Usually the salt from the parmesan cheese is enough, but you should taste the soup to see if you need to add salt. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. It is great with a piece of buttered crusty bread.