A time of grace (and feasting)

With December WAG – in print and online today – we “Wrap Up A Grace-Filled Year” – and kick off a festive season. Our trio of Wanderers – Debbi K. Kickham, Barbara Barton Sloane and Jeremy Wayne – are all over Central Europe, savoring its Christmas markets (Barbara and Jeremy) and making chocolates and truffle butter in Switzerland (Debbi), while Wine&Diner Doug Paulding enjoys Iberian hospitality.

Wares columnist Jane Morgan helps you get your home ready for the season. (Think lots of light.) And Mary Shustack has just the stuff to adorn it with as she profiles Ridgefield jeweler Amy Kahn Russell, mosaic artist Allison Goldenstein of Allison Eden Studio (see below) and Manhattan’s Neue Galerie.

Gina Gouveia (yes, we’re sisters) had the pleasure of interviewing Lidia Bastianich at Barnes & Noble’s concept store in Eastchester. Below you’ll find the recipe for Bastianich’s Classic Italian Wedding Soup, reprinted from her new book, “Lidia’s Celebrate Like An Italian,” which she wrote with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali.

And last – but never least – we draw your attention to ballet star and December cover guy David Hallberg, who participated in Tiffany & Co.’s recent “There’s Only One” campaign. He’s a multifaceted man, and December is an equally multifaceted issue, one that tugs at and lifts the heart.

Speaking of Tiffany, you must check out the newly renovated fourth floor of the Fifth Avenue flagship, featuring the new Home Accessories Collection and the Blue Box Café. We’ll have a full report in January WAG’s “Star Turns” issue, but you’ll want to run down now for some unusual gifts – we’re loving the porcelain “paper” cups in Tiffany blue – and, of course, have breakfast at Tiffany’s all day at the new café.

Georgette Gouveia

Classic Italian Wedding Soup

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE SOUP:

  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 pounds veal bones
  • 2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, backs or necks, or a combination
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed but left whole
  • 4 stalks celery, halved crosswise
  • 2 medium onions, halved
  • 1 piece rind from a wedge of Grana Padano left whole from grating
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large bunch spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 10 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • 1 cup orzo or other small pasta (optional)

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Grana Padano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Grated Grana Padano, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the soup, in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine the veal bones, short ribs, chicken parts, leeks, carrots, celery, onions, cheese rind, peppercorns, parsley, tomato paste, salt and 6 quarts water. Cover, heat and simmer for 2 hours, occasionally skimming and discarding the scum and foam that rise to the surface. Uncover, and simmer until reduced by about half, about 1 hour more.  
  2. Drain the solids, and return the broth to a cleaned pot. Shred any meat from short ribs and chicken parts, discarding the fat and bones, and reserve. 
  3. For the meatballs, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, pork, bread crumbs, grated cheese, parsley, egg and salt. Mix well with your hands. Roll into 1-inch meatballs, and add to the boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then transfer with a spider or slotted spoon to the stock. 
  4. Return the soup to a simmer. Add the reserved shredded meats, the reserved carrots, and the spinach. Simmer until the spinach is tender, about 10-15 minutes, adding the orzo in the last 7-8 minutes if desired. Serve in soup bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of grated cheese. 

    Serves 10-12.

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