Soup! The Ultimate Date Night Meal?
We've all heard the phrase "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Well in our house nothing says "I love you" more than a hearty soup.
About a year ago, Kalo and I declared Tuesday night our weekly date night. So on Tuesdays you can find us at a restaurant, bowling alley, movie theatre or cocktail lounge, but lets be real sometimes date night means snuggling up on the couch with a tasty home-cooked meal. Last night we indulged in some prosciutto bruschetta and big, steamy bowls of Italian wedding soup. Here's how it all went down along with a few tips for when you get cooking.
First, I have yet another confession to make which might upset some folks (my husband was devastated) ... I SERIOUSLY dislike prosciutto. I mean how can meat cut so thin be that chewy? With that said you might be asking yourself "why would a proclaimed prosciutto hater ever choose to make Valerie Bertinelli's Prosciutto Bruschetta?" The answer is because I've found the best trick of all time! Did you know you can crisp prosciutto up in the oven similar to how you'd cook bacon on a sheet pan? I promise no more endless chewing.
Valerie's bruschetta recipe was a no-brainer to assemble and the perfect snack for when Kalo walked in the door. Imagine garlicky crostini, melted mozzarella and fresh basil, but the real star is the crunchy/salty prosciutto. Come on just look at that photo. The colour combination. Sexy right?
Now for the main. I've never eaten or made Italian wedding soup before so I was definitely winging it in the kitchen, which I admit is one of my favourite things to do. I mean where is the fun in making the same dishes over and over again? Turns out this soup is pretty labor intensive but it's jam packed with the ingredients for a perfect date night dinner from the herbed meatballs and cloud-like egg strands to the tender vegetables and nutty parmesan cheese. Here are some pointers that I uncovered along the way:
No Law Against Merging Recipes
I pinned Giada De Laurentiis against Ina Garten and chose aspects of each chef's recipes that spoke to me. For example I preferred Giada's method of boiling the meatballs for 8 minutes instead of baking them for 30 minutes. On the other hand, I loved how Ina used onion, carrots, celery, white wine, dill and spinach to flavour her broth.
Black Pepper is Your Best Friend
Never shy away from black pepper in soups. Just think about all the liquid in your pot and the salt from the chicken stock and cheese. It's the quiet heat from black pepper that will elevate the overall flavour profile.
ALWAYS Add More Parmesan
I'm not sure I've ever adhered to any recipe's measurements for parmesan cheese. I say keep grating and go for it!
Little Touches = Big Flavour
I had some garlic infused olive oil on hand and decided I could use it to sauté the onion, carrots and celery. The special oil added just the right amount of garlic undertones to the broth. So if you have infused oils or herby compound butter, this is the perfect opportunity to pull them out and use them up.
Warning! Onions are Slippery When Grated
Grating onions is awkward, the layers all fall apart and not to mention your hands smell funky for days. I've learned to carefully cut just enough of the end from which the root sprouts while keeping what's called the onion's basal plate intact. It'll change your grating game.
Mini Meatballs Are A Mini Nightmare
Oh man I was in a dark place while rolling all those meatballs by myself. I suggest getting your significant other to join in on the fun. 4 hands are better than 2.
Let your family know how much you love them by making this soup. It's perfect for a comfy, cozy date night at home or hell you can even entertain a crowd. I hope you all have a great week and are staying warm out there.