2 ratings

Italian Wedding Soup

Serve it for any occasion, not just weddings
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Italian wedding soup is a staple dish in Italian cookery. Many versions of the soup exist but its key ingredients include: chicken broth, miniature meatballs, tiny soup-style pasta, chopped greens and freshly grated cheese. Go the extra mile and make your own chicken stock, or just buy the store-bought stuff for an easy weeknight comfort meal. 

This recipe is by Joe Crea and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune

Ready in
50 m
25 m
(prepare time)
25 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


For a richer stock, add a stewing hen, 2 cups diced carrots, 2 large celery stalks, a few sprigs of parsley, the lightest sprinkling of salt, a bay leaf or two and water to amply cover. Simmer 1 1/2 to 3 hours, covered if you prefer, to minimize evaporation, then skim the surface and refrigerate overnight. The next day, lift off and discard fat that's risen to the surface. Strip the meat from the bones and discard fat and scraps along with the cooked celery, bay leaf and parsley. Dice the meat and slice carrots.. Return to stock.


  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 Pounds extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 Cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 Cup freshly grated Pecorino, Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 Teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 Cup orzo, acini de pepe, ditalini or pastina
  • 6 Cups baby spinach


Step 1: In a stock pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 4 quarts chicken broth. Bring to a boil. 

Step: While you're waiting for the chicken broth to boil, start on the meatballs. In a large bowl combine 2 pounds beef, 1 cup plain bread crumbs, 1 cup grated cheese, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons parsley, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. With clean hands, mix together the ingredients until well combined. Shape the mixture into miniature meatballs, about 3/4 inch. 

Step 3: In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook until browned. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Work in batches as to avoid crowding the pan. Put the meatballs to the side until it's time to add them to the soup for further cooking. 

Step 4: Add the meatballs and 1 1/2 cups soup-style pasta to the broth and lower the heat to a light boil. Cover. 

Step 5: Let the mixture simmer, stirring occassionally. Once the pasta and meatballs are cooked, add in six cups spinach. Once the spinach is slightly wilted turn off the stove. 

Step 6: Serve immediately. Sprinkle each bowl with extra Parmesan cheese.