Ina Garten's Go-To Comfort Soup For Chilly Winter Nights

As the author of "Modern Comfort Food," it comes as no surprise that Ina Garten has a repertoire full of soup recipes. The celebrity chef has approximately 50 of them, Kitchn reports, each one different from the last. From Chicken Noodle Soup to Clam Chowder, Garten has featured all the classics on episodes of "Barefoot Contessa" and frequently puts her own twist on them with recipes like Onion and Fennel Soup Gratin and Mexican Chicken Soup.

Though Garten admitted in an issue of Costco Connection (via SheKnows) that she's been known to indulge in a bowl of soup for breakfast, most of her soup recipes are actually seasonal. She has a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, for example, that's perfect for autumn, and a refreshing Gazpacho best served during the summer. Garten's Winter Minestrone, meanwhile, is designed to be enjoyed during the colder months. 

Given that she put the word "winter" right in the name, you'd probably assume Garten's minestrone was her go-to for the season, but there's actually another soup she prefers.

Italian wedding soup is Ina Garten's favorite winter soup

For Ina Garten, there's no better way to ring in the winter season than with a bowl of soup. "It's freezing in East Hampton, which means it's soup weather!" she declared excitedly in an Instagram post. "My Italian Wedding Soup has to be my all-time favorite soup for dinner, and it's just as good reheated for lunch the next day." Garten originally shared the soup in her 2008 cookbook "Back to Basics" (via Barefoot Contessa), so clearly the recipe has stood the test of time.

Italian wedding soup, per The Kitchen Whisperer, is a soup made with a chicken stock base. It traditionally includes acini de pepe pasta, parmesan cheese, and egg as well as beef and pork meatballs and leafy greens like escarole. The original name of the soup "minestera maritata," which directly translates to "married soup," refers to the marriage of these ingredients. 

Garten's version of Italian wedding soup however, strays slightly from the traditional components.

How Ina Garten makes Italian wedding soup

Though chicken stock is one of the main ingredients, authentic Italian wedding soup doesn't actually have chicken meat in it, The Kitchen Whisperer points out. That's where Ina Garten's recipe differs. Instead of pork or beef based meatballs, Garten uses a combination of ground chicken and chicken sausage to make hers. Then, rather than cooking the chicken meatballs directly in the soup or frying them separately, she roasts them. This method, according to Garten, produces the best results. "You'll just have to stop yourself from eating the meatballs before they go into the soup!" she wrote on Instagram.

Garten truly makes the chicken the star of her Italian wedding soup because she opts to make the chicken stock entirely from scratch. To make the stock (via Barefoot Contessa) she uses 3 roasting chickens, totaling 15 pounds, which cooks down for four hours until a stock forms. The homemade chicken stock, along with the chicken meatballs and the addition of fresh dill give Garten's Italian wedding soup its signature taste. 

It's no wonder it's one of her favorite cold weather dinners.