Italian Wedding Soup

01.30.2017

Best Italian Wedding Soup! I used to be intimidated to make Italian Wedding Soup. I have no Italian lineage and my mom never made it growing up, so for whatever reason it seemed easy to mess up.

But I’m here to tell you it is so easy to make and following this simple recipe people may likely think it was passed down from an Italian Grandmother.

Closeup overhead image of Italian Wedding Soup in a large white bowl.

Tips for the Best Italian Wedding Soup

This is my idea of the best Italian Wedding Soup! What makes it the best you’re likely asking? It’s a number of things so here we go:

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  • Searing the meatballs is a game changer in my opinion. Why just simmer them in broth them when you can brown them first add add all that flavor?
  • Make the meatballs small. This is soup, not a big bowl of pasta.
  • Use fresh herbs. They really add great flavor.
  • Stick with the combination of the two meats.
  • Use fresh bread crumbs. Again we’re building better flavor. The texture of dry would throw this recipe off anyway.
  • Don’t be skimpy with the garlic. This is an Italian soup. I like to use 4 cloves here.
  • Bring on the parm! The shredded parmesan will really compliment the soup nicely. It may not be pictured as a finishing garnish, but don’t leave it off!
  • Stick with tiny pasta, I love how it sets this soup apart.

Two white bowls filled wit Italian Wedding Soup set over a gray surface.

What Pasta to Use for Italian Wedding Soup?

I like this best with acini de pepe. Acini de pepe are just those tiny little round pasta that can usually be found by the other pastas at the grocery store. If you can’t find them orzo will work here as well.

Italian Wedding Soup in a large white enameled pot. Soup includes meatballs, bits of pasta, carrots, celery, spinach and broth.

Can I Substitute Other Greens Here?

I prefer the flavor of the spinach best here but kale, endive or escarole are other greens commonly used in Italian Wedding Soup and they would work fine in this recipe.

If using one of those previously listed I’d recommend adding them along with the pasta as they’ll need a longer cook time. The spinach cooks almost instantly whereas those others wont.

This soup might require a little more prep than some of your average soups (such as grinding up fresh bread crumbs and shaping and browning the tiny meatballs) but the extra steps and extra pan are so worth it in the end. Hope you love it too!

Italian Wedding Soup. Two servings shown in a white bowl with a white pot half full in the background.

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Italian Wedding Soup

4.85 from 33 votes

The BEST Italian Wedding Soup! Filled with homemade browned meatballs, fresh veggies and tiny bits of pasta. Total comfort food any day of the year!

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Wedding Soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 396 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 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
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Soup

  • 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

Instructions

  1. For the meatballs:
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. For the soup:
  5. 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.
  6. *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.
  7. **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.
  8. Recipe source: inspired by Ina Garten's and Giada's recipes
Nutrition Facts
Italian Wedding Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 362mg 15%
Potassium 911mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 25g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 29g 58%
Vitamin A 149.8%
Vitamin C 20.1%
Calcium 19%
Iron 22.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

85 comments

  • Grace: Just finished making this soup and it is DELICIOUS! I doubled the recipe. It does take a lot of preparation time, for me at least since I am not much of a cook but I did try and follow the recipe as closely as possible. I had to chop veggies & herbs one day then form the the meatballs the next day and then on the 3rd day I put it all together and yum!!! A spoonful of broth & everything else on its own is good as long as there is enough salt and pepper added, but if you have a meatball with each spoonful it is WOW! And there are a LOT of meatballs. I used pastini (tiny star pasta) which I think is probably close in size maybe a bit smaller tho than what is recommended but it worked. I’ll probably try ditalini next time. Definitely worth the time and effort. My Husband loves it and he is not a soup person. Thank you so much for this recipe! December 3, 2018 at 1:40pm Reply

  • Josie: Love this,but I cook my pasta separate so it doesn’t soak up the broth December 1, 2018 at 10:21am Reply

  • Christy: This soup was very yummy – except there was no broth. Recipe only calls for 14.5 ounces of chicken broth – I ended up putting in about 6 cups!!!! It would have been more like stew and not soup had I not. November 26, 2018 at 1:08pm Reply

    • Patricia: The recipe calls for 5 cans of broth. November 26, 2018 at 8:38pm Reply

    • Kirsten: The recipe calls for 5× 14.5 oz. So 72.5 ounces November 27, 2018 at 5:32am Reply

  • Darlene: Absolutely delicious! Will be making this again! November 19, 2018 at 4:40am Reply

  • Carly: How much broth do you use? If you use the canned stuff do you still use the water? If you use the kind in a box how many cups is that? November 18, 2018 at 2:49pm Reply

  • Regina: Where would I find La Brea French loaf bread? Will I have to fly to Paris to buy it? November 13, 2018 at 2:18am Reply

  • Janet Rossetti: Loved it ! Saute the meatballs it’s a game changer… I just made the best Italian Wedding soup ever :) Thank you for sharing ! November 7, 2018 at 9:28am Reply

  • Wendy: Does quinoa work in this recipe? November 5, 2018 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Quinoa would work here as well. It will give a slightly differently flavor but sounds like another delicious option. November 9, 2018 at 2:40pm Reply

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