Our May Top Pick in Cookbooks is Fabio's Italian Kitchen by Fabio Viviani, an "old world, old school" celebration of Italian tradition. Fabio's personal story of becoming a chef is great, and so are the 150 recipes. Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "Fabio is favoloso!"

Italian Wedding Soup
Zuppa del Matrimonio

Serves 6–8

Italian Wedding Soup

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 1 cup carrots, diced

  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced

  • 1 cup celery, diced

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef

  • 2 eggs

  • 1?3 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach

  • 3 quarts chicken stock (see recipe on page 260)

  • 2 cups orzo pasta

This traditional southern Italian recipe celebrates the marriage of vegeta­bles with meatballs in a heaven of soup. So it pretty much has nothing to do with a real wedding. Nobody who gets married in Italy eats this soup at the wedding. “Hey, let’s get married! I can’t wait to have meatballs!” Are you nuts?

Preheat the oven to 375?F.

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and cook the carrots, onion, and celery until soft and starting to caramelize, about 15 minutes.

While the vegetables sauté, make the meatballs. Mix the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Form into 1?2-inch balls and set on a baking sheet. Bake for 12–15 minutes.

fabiositalianAdd the spinach to the sautéing vegetables and let it wilt. Then add the chicken stock to the vegetables and cook over high heat until it is somewhat reduced. Add the pasta to cook, and when the meatballs are ready, add them to the pot, too.

Boil 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

From Fabio's Italian Kitchen by Fabio Viviani. Copyright © 2013, VF Legacy, LLC. Published by Hyperion in April 2013. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved. Photo credit Matt Armendariz. Read our review of this book.

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