Italian Wedding Soup

01.30.2017

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. 

Italian Wedding Soup | Cooking Classy

Italian Wedding Soup | Cooking Classy

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.

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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 | Cooking Classy Italian Wedding Soup | Cooking Classy

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Italian Wedding Soup

4.85 from 20 votes

Yield: About 6 servings

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 or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 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

61 comments

  • Patricia: Jaclyn, that looks delicious! Even though I have a recipe of my own for this kind of soup, I am going to try yours because it looks so tasty! Perfect for a cold day! January 31, 2017 at 8:54am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Patricia :)! January 31, 2017 at 9:51am Reply

      • Jackie: Hello.. I was wondering if this soup is okay to freeze? April 16, 2018 at 3:59pm Reply

  • Paige: This soup looks amazing! I need to try this soon!

    Paige January 31, 2017 at 11:19am Reply

  • Judith Reese: This has always been one of my favorite soups. It is as good warmed up the next day and freezes well also. January 31, 2017 at 11:51am Reply

    • Joan: Thanks for advising it freezes well. December 20, 2017 at 8:35pm Reply

  • Sara @ Last Night’s Feast: The colors in this soup are so vibrant! It looks delicious January 31, 2017 at 12:15pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Sara! January 31, 2017 at 2:41pm Reply

  • Mindy Delano: Hi,
    This definitely will be on my table this week. Can I use cous cous instead of pasta? It’s little round balls, too. I’ve got that in my pantry now. Thanks! January 31, 2017 at 5:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Pearl couscous would be a good substitute if that’s what you’ve got. I hope you love this soup Mindy! February 1, 2017 at 12:56pm Reply

  • Amber: This looks so yummy! I wish there was a GF version of orzo so i could make it! February 2, 2017 at 10:34am Reply

    • Shirley: I used a cup of brown rice instead of orzo and it was delicious. Also you can use GF bread crumbs or GF oats in the meatballs. February 17, 2017 at 10:22am Reply

    • Patti: Delallo brand makes gluten free orzo. January 26, 2018 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Jillian: I made this soup last night and it was awesome! Super easy and perfect for a cold winter night. Definitely will be making this again. Thanks! February 11, 2017 at 6:37am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Jillian! Glad you loved it! February 14, 2017 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Susan Martin: I made this tonight. I served with garlic croutons. Absolutely loved it!! March 16, 2017 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad it was enjoyed Susan! March 27, 2017 at 11:29am Reply

  • Katie: I’ve made this a couple times, adding the 1/2 cup of white wine that Ina suggests, and 1 bouillon cube to enhance the flavor. My son is VERY VERY picky eater, with some sensory issues tied to certain foods. He ADORES this soup, last night, he ate 3 bowls! He refers to it as “Yummy Yummy Soup.” Thanks for helping us add to his flavor profile! :) June 6, 2017 at 7:04am Reply

  • Lindsey: Delicious. Added in some lemon zest, which added a nice freshness. September 17, 2017 at 8:57pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Lindsey! September 18, 2017 at 12:31pm Reply

  • Cheryl: Oh yeah! Made the meatballs with ground turkey…AMAZING !
    Will definitely a favorite in our home ! October 20, 2017 at 6:19am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad it was enjoyed Cheryl! October 20, 2017 at 12:43pm Reply

  • liz: can this be made ahead and frozen October 23, 2017 at 11:22am Reply

  • Marie May Bouchard: Tried this soup, it is delicious! I love soups in the fall and winter months. I will add this soup to my favorite recipes October 25, 2017 at 6:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it Marie – thanks for taking the time to leave a review. October 27, 2017 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Susie: This turned out unbelievably good! I didn’t have an egg, so I threw a couple splashes of worsterchire sauce instead and used orzo. Holy moly we loved it! Definitely on the favorites list :) October 31, 2017 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you loved it Susie! October 31, 2017 at 4:11pm Reply

  • Jamie Holmes: Delicious! My whole family loved it including the kids! November 5, 2017 at 3:18pm Reply

  • Joan: When I make this soup I top I t off by adding two or three beaten eggs and a sprinkle of locatali cheese to the boiling broth. Love this soup! November 15, 2017 at 6:43am Reply

  • Helen Bennett: Loved this recipe! My husband said it was fantastic! He hadn’t had homemade Italian Wedding soup since before we were married. Thank you! November 29, 2017 at 6:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad this Italian Wedding Soup recipe was enjoyed :)! Thanks for leaving a review Helen! November 30, 2017 at 12:08am Reply

  • Judi: I ALWAYS USE “ESCAROLE”
    Not spinach!
    AUTHENTIC ITALIAN ESCAROLE SOUP
    IS WHAT NANA ALWAYS MADE – YUM! December 4, 2017 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Ginny: I have made this soup numerous times and it is absolutely delicious. If I’m in in rush, I omit the meatballs but it truly is yummy either way. If I may make a suggestion, the only thing I add to the soup pot is a piece of parmesan rind while the soup is simmering. Once we are ready to eat I take out the rind and save it in the fridge for the next time. Thanks for posting such a great recipe! December 11, 2017 at 4:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your feedback Ginny! December 12, 2017 at 12:11pm Reply

  • JenniR: I made this last night. It turned out really well. Very good soup. I may try escarole next time. I think it would hold up better.
    Over all…great soup for a cold night. December 12, 2017 at 8:22am Reply

  • Patti B: I made this soup while helping a friend during her recovery from a major surgery. It turned out wonderful and because of her limited diet, it was a perfect choice. I added chicken bouillon to balance out the flavor in the broth. For the sake of time, I didn’t make the homemade meatballs and substituted with turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s instead. It was delicious and I will definitely be making this again! December 12, 2017 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad to hear! Hope your friend is healing up well. December 13, 2017 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Susie: Unbelievable!! A favorite for everyone who tries it. This soup is the best, thank you for the recipe!! December 19, 2017 at 6:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to report back! December 21, 2017 at 3:15pm Reply

  • Kristie Livermore: Just made this tonight! Sooooo delicious! thank you! December 20, 2017 at 6:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Kristie! So glad you loved it! December 21, 2017 at 3:34pm Reply

  • Bill: I made this 2 weeks ago for my 91 year old parents (yes, both of them). They *loved* it. So I made another batch for them today and had a small bowl myself. Now *I* love it. All of us thank you for this great recipe. I’m trying to give it 5 stars, but seem to have a problem with the rating system fro my phone, so please know that I am giving it 5 stars and 2 thumbs up! Thanks for sharing! January 10, 2018 at 7:45pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Bill! So glad it was enjoyed! January 17, 2018 at 11:59am Reply

  • Sherita: Easy and delicious. January 16, 2018 at 6:22am Reply

  • Sandy McLaughlin: I double the batch of meatballs and then freeze them for when I want a quick soup! January 16, 2018 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Cindy B: Like THE bet soup ever (and I make lots of soup!). I didn’t add salt, cheated and bought the tiny meatballs and made 9 qts. which was all eaten last night at card club and made another 9 qts. this morning to deliver to family. Loved by everyone and I think its ever better the second day. This will ALWAYS be my go to soup from now on. January 18, 2018 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great feedback Cindy! January 23, 2018 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Laura lewis: I made this soup tonight for dinner, it was amazing! My husband and I both loved it. It was very easy to make. January 19, 2018 at 5:22pm Reply

  • Marge W: I use Escarole instead of Spinach. I’ll have to try Spinach. Love this soup anytime. January 26, 2018 at 7:11am Reply

  • Amanda Weiers: Tried this soup tonight, and was pleasantly surprised with it! So delicious and really quiet easy, I will definitely make this soup again!! My family loved it !! January 29, 2018 at 8:19pm Reply

  • Cindy: This soup is amazing! Made it last week and got rave reviews. Only thing I did different was that I used 1 1/2 pounds of meat instead of 1 pound, and I used 3 quarts of chicken stock. Will be making again and again. Thanks for a great recipe! February 13, 2018 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Cindy: I have tried many recipes for Italian Wedding Soup and this was my favorite! I used meatloaf mix for the meatballs (pork, beef, and veal). I also love kale because it holds up better than spinach. Served with some crusty Ciabatta rolls. Perfect! February 21, 2018 at 4:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it – thanks for leaving a review! February 22, 2018 at 6:16pm Reply

  • Nancey: This is only soup my son loves to eat. Thank you for this recipe. Now I can make it for him. February 24, 2018 at 10:22am Reply

  • Deb Niese: Jillian,

    Made the soup and my family loved it. March 11, 2018 at 5:31pm Reply

  • St Charles: Went to ‘Oreganos restaurant’ last night had their Italian Wedding Soup. Your recipe is identical and theirs was delicious, but home made has an ingrediant (like yours) that restaurants do not. LOVE. Will definitely try yours.😚 March 16, 2018 at 5:31pm Reply

  • Jenn: Can I cheat and use panko bread crums? April 9, 2018 at 8:56am Reply

  • Lisa: I really enjoyed this recipe. Much hardier than I expected. My belly is full.

    Next time I will cut the amount of meatballs in half. They are necessary because they give the soup its awesome flavor. I’m just more a of a vegetable person. But if you’re a meat lover, I wouldn’t change a thing. April 16, 2018 at 5:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much for the feedback Lisa! April 16, 2018 at 6:17pm Reply

  • Robert Lukas: I found that my orzo didn’t freeze well and it became very mushy when reheated. I’ll try cooking enough orzo for immediate use and do another batch after thawing. Otherwise, it’s an excellent recipe as is. Thanks for sharing. June 12, 2018 at 7:34pm Reply

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