Italian Wedding Soup

January 30, 2017

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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:

  • 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.

Want to see how easy this Italian Wedding Soup recipe is? Watch the video!

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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4.97 from 155 votes

Italian Wedding Soup

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!
Servings: 6
Prep25 minutes
Cook25 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

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

  • 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.

Notes

  • *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.
Nutrition Facts
Italian Wedding Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 362mg16%
Potassium 911mg26%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 7490IU150%
Vitamin C 16.6mg20%
Calcium 190mg19%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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339 Comments

  • Adrianne

    I have several recipes for Italian Wedding Soup, but THIS is the BEST! Everyone wanted second’s! I followed the recipe. The only OPTIONAL thing I added, was shredded pecorino Romano cheese to sprinkle on top of the soup. ZUPPA DELIZIOSA!!!

  • Orenzo

    Hearty, nourishing comfort food!
    Very straightforward and easy to execute recipe.
    However …
    “25 minutes prep time” (?!)
    What kind of joke is this?
    There is no seasoned nona on Earth who, in 25 minutes, can roll 16oz of meat mixture into around seventy 3/4” meatballs and still chop and mince all the other ingredients. Not happening.
    The other 25 minute estimate for Cooking Time was about right; but i spent 90 minutes on the prep. It will be faster my next time, no doubt, but the prep time should be more accurately stated at ~ 50 minutes.
    The meatball rolling alone takes about half an hour.
    The recipe itself was delicious!
    An honest Prep Time, rather than obviously wild underestimate, would be a more fair way to present such a noble soup.

  • Maria

    The flavor of the soup is nice, it’s just overwhelming. All the flavors are fighting each other to shine and it ends up tasting like sausage parmesan soup. Modifications I’m going for next time around. Cut all meatball ingredients in half and the amount of parmesan in them, to a quarter of the original recipe in the meat balls. For the rest of the soup, reduce the amount of onions to one cup and increase the carrots to one and a half cups. Shallots would work better than white onions also at the one cup mark. If you use better than bullion or another broth paste, use nine cups water with two tablespoons chicken base. I’ll update this post once I have tried my modifications.

  • Judy D Callaghan

    I used fresh herbs and instead of spinach I used a Chinese green called Qai Lan Mue chopped. Delicious!

  • Ken Lacroix

    Excellent recipe!
    A great soup for a cold rainy day.
    I make it frequently.
    Thank you

    KGL