The term “wedding soup” comes from the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination/”marriage” of greens and the broth.
The modern wedding soup is quite a bit lighter than the old Italian and Spanish forms, which contained more meats than just the meatballs of modern Italian-American versions.
Thus, Italian Wedding Soup has nothing to do with the holy matrimony of individuals, rather the marriage of flavors.
I love that.
And, I love this soup.
Sans the pasta, this version of the savory and superb soup lends itself to be a bit lighter. However, with the addition of homemade pesto, both a heartiness and complexity arise on the palate, as well as a lingering desire for more.
Italian Mushroom Pesto Soup
Pecan Basil Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
In the large bowl of a food processor, puree the basil, pecans, and cheese. Drizzle in the olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside.
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups wild mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
4 cups mushroom stock
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sautée until they release their juice. Add the ground sausage meat, breaking apart with the back of a wooden spoon, and cooking, on low, until done. Add the stock and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the pesto and serve topped with additional shaved parmesan.