I don’t know how many years it’s been that I keep saying I’m going to try Italian Wedding Soup. Well the day has finally come. Who knows why I’ve waited so long because this soup is amazing! It’s packed with fresh flavors and the meatballs just make this soup sing. Those herb packed meatballs really are the main highlight of this soup, I kind of wish there were double the amount because they’re so good! And I love that they’re small, I’ve never been a fan of the big meatballs with spaghetti. These little meatballs are perfectly bite size.
This soup requires a little more prep than some of your average soups may (such as grinding up fresh bread crumbs and shaping and browning the tiny meatballs) but the extra steps and extra pan are worth it! Many Italian wedding soups don’t have a browning step but I feel it’s a game changer here, browning always makes meat butter, right? Then many other recipes call for endive, kale or escarole which would be totally find to substitute here in place of the spinach – but those I’d recommend adding along with the pasta as they’ll need a longer cook time than the spinach. The spinach cooks almost instantly whereas those others wont.
This is a soup that’s so good it will likely become a new frequent request in your home. I just love everything about it and I already look forward to making it again! Hope you love it!
Italian Wedding Soup
Yield: About 6 servings
- 8 oz lean ground beef
- 8 oz . ground pork
- 1/2 cup fresh hearty white bread crumbs*
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
- 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan
- 1 large egg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups 1/4-inch diced carrots
- 1 1/4 cups diced yellow onion
- 3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery
- 4 cloves garlic , minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 5 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dry acini de pepe or orzo pasta**
- 6 oz fresh spinach , chopped
- Finely shredded parmesan , for serving
For the meatballs:
Add beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Add in bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, parmesan, egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Gently toss and break up mixture with hands to evenly coat and distribute. Shape mixture into very small meatballs, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch and transfer to a large plate.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook until browned, turning occasionally (to brown on 2 or 3 sides), about 4 minutes total. Transfer meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels while leaving oil in skillet. Repeat process with remaining meatballs (note that meatballs won't be cooked through at this point, they'll continue to cook through in the soup).
For the soup:
While meatballs are browning, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until veggies have softened about 6 - 8 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Pour in chicken broth, season soup with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs, reduce heat to light boil (about medium or medium-low). Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender and meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes, while adding in spinach during the last minute of cooking. Serve warm, sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.
*I recommend using bread such as a La Brea french loaf. Just grind up a slice in a food processor to find crumbs. Save the remaining bread for serving (slathered with butter of course) or freeze for another later use.
**If you like a more brothier soup you can reduce pasta to 3/4 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.