Confession – I am not a big soup fan. Or rather, I am not a pureed soup fan. You know, you make this wonderful soup just to blend it all together and serve in drinkable form. Flavorful yes, but it never fills me up. If I’m going to have soup for a meal, it needs to be chunky and hearty. Maybe it’s a texture thing. Or maybe it’s tricking my stomach into thinking I’m eating more. Either way, this Italian Wedding Soup makes a great meal for those cold brisk days.
Italian Wedding Soup is a mistranslation. Many people (including myself) think it is a soup served at Italian weddings. Actually, the Italians named it so because of the marriage between vegetables and meat, meaning they go very well together. I think if I ever get married and it’s not the middle of summer, I’m going to serve this soup at my wedding anyway. It’s just that good to eat.
The soup is made up of acini di pepe (little pasta balls that translates into “peppercorns” because of the shape), beef meatballs, carrots, and spinach, all floating in chicken broth. I found acini di pepe at Walmart in the pasta section no problem, but I’ve seen some recipes that substituted orzo. I’ve also seen some recipes that added shredded chicken, which to be honest, I have never had wedding soup with chicken before. Not saying it’s wrong. Just unheard of growing up.
I love making Italian Wedding Soup for my family when they visit. It’s hearty, soul warming, and makes enough to feed everyone. It’s hard to feed four people when you spend 95% of your time cooking for one!
Italian Wedding Soup
Author: Carla Cardello (www.chocolatemoosey.com)
Serves: 8 servings
Meatballs (can be done ahead of time*)
- 1/2 pound ground beef, thawed
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp plain bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped (roughly 1 small)
- 1/2 cup carrot, peeled and sliced into coins (roughly 2 carrots)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 6-8 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1/2 cup acini di pepi (can use orzo)
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
- Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together the beef, onion, garlic, cheese, salt, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, and egg until combined. Shape into tiny bite-sized meatballs, roughly 1/2 inch in diameter. Place onto cookie sheets (or plates) and refrigerate until ready to use*. Refrigerating will keep them from falling apart in the soup.
- For the soup: In a large stock pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender but not too soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Drop in the meatballs and cook 7 minutes (longer if frozen*). Add acini di pepi and cook 5 minutes then add spinach. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. If you need more broth, add the remaining 1-2 cups.
* If you are not going to use the meatballs the same day you make them, cover them until you are ready. You can even freeze and drop them frozen into the soup. Just add a few more minutes to the cooking time.
Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker