ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP

Your whole family will love this Italian wedding soup with delicious meatballs, healthy vegetables, and pasta, all cooked in a savory broth. 

I absolutely love a good soup, and when your entire family gives it two thumbs up (even the picky eater), you know you have a winner. With this soup, you have your complete dinner in one bowl; protein, pasta, and lots of vegetables! This means less time spent making dinner and fewer dirty dishes.

What is Italian Wedding Soup?

No, it is not a traditional soup served at weddings in Italy. The name wedding comes from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata,” which means ‘married soup.’  Why is it married? It’s the marriage of ingredients, and the resulting delicious flavor in the soup.

An authentic Italian Wedding soup will always have these two ingredients; green vegetables and meat. When it comes to vegetables, it is common to use lettuce, kale, spinach, or cabbage. Meat is usually represented by some type of meatballs or sausage.

What Type of Pasta is Best?

Any type of small pasta will work. The most common types of pasta used in Italian wedding soups are the smallest types; acini de pepe, pastina, or orzo pasta. They can be found amongst the other pasta in most grocery stores. 

How to Make this Recipe

Start with the meatballs. 

  • Combine all the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl (it’s easiest to use your hands to mix).

  • Form into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

  • Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Check that the meatballs are done with a kitchen thermometer. It should read at least 160°F.

  • Set the meatballs aside a prepare the soup.

Next, make the soup.

  • Add the chopped carrots, celery, and onions to a pan with a little oil. Cook until tender. This takes about 20 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, dried parsley, dried basil, ground pepper, and salt. Bring almost to a boil.
  • Add the pasta, cover, and turn down the heat to medium. Cook the pasta until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs and spinach, and continue to cook the soup over medium-low heat. Cook until the spinach has wilted and the meatballs are heated through; about 5 minutes.
  • Ladle the soup into the bowls, garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

Using Frozen Spinach

  • You may also use a 6-ounce package of frozen spinach.
  • Let it thaw, pat it dry, and add it at the end. Give it a few minutes to heat before serving.

Storage

  • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months.
  • When reheating the soup, the pasta will have soaked up some of the broth, and the soup will be thicker. If needed, you can add a little more broth to the soup before reheating it to thin the soup a bit.

Italian Wedding Soup

Your whole family will love this Italian wedding soup with delicious meatballs, healthy vegetables, and pasta, all cooked in a savory broth. 
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Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Soup
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
 

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or pork
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Soup:

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup acini de pepe, pastina or orzo pasta**
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions
 

Meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Mix the turkey or pork, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, egg, parsley, and salt together in a medium bowl. It is easiest to use your hands to mix the ingredients.
  • Shape mixture into meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness with a thermometer, which should read at least 160°F. Set aside while you finish the soup.

Soup:

  • Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chopped carrots, celery, and onions and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken broth. Then add the parsley, basil, pepper, and salt. Heat until the soup is hot and steaming.
  • Turn the heat down to medium, add the pasta and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the pasta is done, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs and spinach and stir. Continue to cook the soup over medium-low heat until the spinach has wilted, about 5 minutes. Sample the soup and add more salt to taste, if needed.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese (optional).

Notes

**If you like a brothier soup, you can reduce the pasta to 1/2 cup. Note that as the soup sits, the pasta will absorb more broth, so you can add more broth to thin the soup as desired.
Using Frozen Spinach:
  • You may also use a 6-ounce package of frozen spinach.
  • Let it thaw, pat it dry, and add it at the end. Give it a few minutes to heat before serving.
Storage:
  • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months.
  • When reheating the soup, the pasta will have soaked up some of the broth, and the soup will be thicker. If needed, you can add a little more broth to the soup before reheating it to thin the soup a bit.
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