Ever wanted to learn how to make an Italian wedding soup recipe? This version is a delicious take on the classic Italian meatball soup recipe that your whole family will love!
On a rainy, dreary day nothing warms you up more than a big bowl of soup. This version of Italian wedding soup isn’t rooted in anything authentic. Instead, I made a take on the classic Italian meatball soup recipe.
The name, Italian Wedding Soup, doesn’t imply that we serve this dish at weddings. Instead, it comes from the phrase “minestra maritata” which means married soup. In this context though, the marriage is referring to the marriage of ingredients, specifically the greens and meat. Every Italian wedding soup has some combination of meat and greens in it!
I make my version with a few key components:
- Meatballs: Made with ground pork and beef and fresh, homemade garlic-herb breadcrumbs
- Aromatics: Including diced onion, carrot, celery, and lots of minced garlic
- Spices: Dry thyme, oregano, and nutmeg add a great savory and lightly sweet undertone to the soup
- Small pasta: Try it with ditalini, acini de pepe, fregula sarda, or pearl couscous
- Greens: I used spinach, but try this with escarole, curly endives, or arugula
How to make this Italian wedding soup recipe:
The key to getting this soup done quickly is prep, prep, prep!
First, prepare the meatballs. Start by toasting bread and then pulsing it in a food processor with cilantro and a few garlic cloves. Next, combine the breadcrumbs with heavy cream, eggs, meat, salt, and pepper and mix with your hands until combined. Roll into tablespoon-sized meatballs and set aside.
Tip: If using lean meat, you need not sear or bake the meatballs first and you can throw them right into the soup. If using fattier ground beef, pork, or sausage, be sure to sear or bake the meatballs first to render out the fat.
Once the meatballs are rolled, sauté the aromatics and add the spices. Pour in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the meatballs (one at a time) and boil for 5–7 minutes. Next, add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs reach 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer. To finish the soup, throw in the greens and cook for just 4–5 minutes more.
Serve this up with some crusty bread and lots of fresh parsley, and enjoy the comfort of a perfect wedding soup!
Looking for more soup recipes? Check my archives!
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Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
- Baking sheet
- Food processor
- Large soup pot
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 4 carrots peeled and diced
- 4 ribs celery trimmed and diced
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 10 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 cup small pasta like ditalini
- 5 ounces spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Minced parsley
- Grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare the breadcrumbs:
- Preheat oven to 300ºF. Arrange the torn bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Transfer to the oven for 10 minutes or until just lightly toasted.
- Transfer the toasted bread to a food processor and the parsley and garlic. Pulse until a fine meal forms. Pour into a large bowl.
Prepare the meatballs:
- Pour the heavy cream over the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Crack the eggs into the mixture and stir until the eggs are completely incorporated into the breadcrumb mixture. Add the meat and season liberally with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. At this point, you can fry up a small piece of the mixture and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
- Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a meatball. Continue until all of the meatballs are made. Then, transfer to the refrigerator until needed.
Start the soup:
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, and onion and cook for 8–10 minutes until just beginning to soften.
- Melt the butter into the vegetables and add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and nutmeg. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant—season with salt and pepper.
Simmer the meatballs:
- Pour the water or stock into the pot and bring to a boil. Carefully add the meatballs, one at a time, and boil for 5–7 minutes. Add the pasta and continue boiling until the meatballs are cooked through, and the pasta is al dente—taste and season with salt and pepper.
Finish the soup:
- Reduce the heat on the soup to low. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with minced parsley and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!