The Pope is in town so I thought I’d bake some bread in case he stopped by and wanted to feed the neighborhood, or something. Victor made soup – Italian Wedding Soup – because even though the Pope is from Argentina, his father was born in Italy and his mother’s parents were born in Italy – and you know how Italians are around here… if your grandparents, great-grandparents, or great-great-grandparents were born in Italy – you’re Italian. End of discussion. We thought Wedding Soup was fitting because he was here for the World Meeting of Families, not to mention we have an abundance of greens in our garden, right now!

We decided to stay out here in ‘burbia instead of trekking into the city. I just couldn’t imagine dealing with the crowds, barricades, security checkpoints, and all that. Even after a fun and uplifting day, I imagine I would be a cranky guy trying to get my SEPTA train back home, tonight.

And speaking of home… the garden has gone crazy! We planted lots of fall greens and they are really coming through! Tomorrow night I’m cooking up New Zealand Spinach, and some of the beets are looking like they’re almost ready. Fun, indeed!

The bread, today, was my favorite Pane Pugliese. I have been making this bread for nigh on 35 years. It really is one of my favorite breads and it never – ever – fails. I try to keep a biga on hand for those almost-spur-of-of-the-moment loaves of bread since it needs to be made a day in advance. This was concept-to-table in 4 hours.

And while the dough was rising, Victor was making soup.


This is such a great soup. Victor also made fresh chicken stock from the bird I roasted the other night so it is really homemade!

Italian Wedding Soup


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  • 3 qts chicken broth
  • 1 lb escarole, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make meat balls: Mix all ingredients together and form into very small meat balls- about the size of a prize shooting marble. Place on a sheet pan off to the side.

Make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the meatballs and escarole and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the escarole is tender – about 10 minutes.

To add the egg: Whisk the eggs to blend. Stir the soup in a circular motion. Slowly drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a large fork to form thin stands of egg.

Ladle into bowls and add additional grated cheese and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil.

The soup is deeply satisfying and made all the better with crusty bread. And… there’s enough left over for lunch, tomorrow.

‘Tis a good day, indeed!