This easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe is a popular Italian American soup made with acini de pepe pasta, spinach, carrots, and meatballs. It’s hearty and filling, perfect for those cold, brisk days. Soup recipe is scaled down to 4 servings to feed 2 people.
When I don’t know what to make for dinner, soup is usually an easy solution because it has the same formula. Saute some vegetables, add broth, add anything that needs to fully cooked, done.
I find pureed soups don’t fill me up as much as they should. That’s why I prefer hearty soups like Spinach and Mushroom Dumpling Soup and this family favorite Italian Wedding Soup. It’s the perfect meal for those cold, brisk days.
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. Is it weird to make a beef soup with chicken broth? Beef broth doesn’t taste the same though.
The name of the pasta found in Italian wedding soup is acini di pepe, which I found in the pasta section no problem. I’ve also seen some recipes substitute 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.
My original recipe made 8 servings, mainly because I would be feeding four people when family visits. However, I scaled it down to 4 servings that feeds 2 people (2 bowls each because let’s face it – who only eats 1 bowl?).
- 1/4 pound ground beef, thawed
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4-5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup acini di pepi pasta
- 6 ounces frozen spinach
- For the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together the beef, onion, garlic, cheese, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, salt, and egg until combined.
- Using a #60 cookie scoop or by hand, roll the meat into 1/2-inch balls. You should get roughly 14 mini meatballs. Place onto a cookie sheet and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. If freezing them longer, store in a freezer-proof zip-top bag.
- For the soup: In a Dutch oven or large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Add 4 cups broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the meatballs and cook at a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Taste for salt. Depending on how salty the broth is, you may need to add up to 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Add acini di pepi and cook 8-10 minutes or until done
- Add spinach and cook 2-3 minutes or until hot. At this point, a lot of the broth will have been absorbed by the pasta and vegetables. Add the remaining broth if desired.
* 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