Italian Wedding Soup


Date Published: April 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: April 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, soups
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 45 mins

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Italian Wedding Soup is a hearty Italian soup made with little beef meatballs and little pasta. The name refers to the “marriage” of the flavours in this soup (rather than a dish served at a wedding).

This soup brings back major nostalgia for me back to my early university days. Before I learned how to cook, I would buy a lot of ready-made soups to have between classes. Specifically, I’d get the Campbell’s “Soup at Hand” brand because they were conveniently packaged in handheld cups and all you had to do was microwave the cup and you’re ready to sip it on the go. I’ve always loved soup and I think I must’ve tried almost all of their flavours back in the day, but Italian Wedding Soup stood out to me. At that time, I had never heard of this soup and what was even more intriguing was the little tiny meatballs and pastas that were in the soup that had to fit out of the small sippy hole of the cup. I actually forgot all about this soup until a couple weeks ago when it suddenly popped into my head while I was trying to decide on what to cook for the week. I’m not sure what originally led me to think about it, but I’m glad I did. It took a couple weeks of testing out different soup and meatball recipes to get it just right (we seriously actually had it for lunch for 2 weeks straight until I was happy with it). I’ve never been to Italy nor have I ever had this soup at an Italian restaurant, so I cannot attest to the authenticity of this recipe, but it’s pretty damn good. This soup is also great to make ahead. It keeps well for the week and it tastes even better the next day – the perfect meal-prep soup!

Tiny Meatballs and Tiny Pasta?

This soup is traditionally made with small meatballs and tiny pasta which is what makes it so unique and fun to eat! Without the tininess, the soup is actually kind of similar to a chicken noodle soup in terms of flavour. You can make these meatballs as big or as little as you want. I prefer to keep them small around 2cm wide so they’re bite-sized and more fun to eat. You can also use any type of pasta you like but it’s traditionally made with smaller pastas such as acini di pepe or risoni, both of which remind me of rice but with a chewy pasta texture. Smaller pasta also adds more starch to the soup and gives it that classical thicker consistency.

The soup is technically easy to make but it is pretty time-consuming to make the little tiny meatballs. To pass the time faster, I’d recommend grabbing a chair and streaming something in the background while you form the meatballs or recruiting other people to make it with you.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Meatballs:
    • 500g extra-lean ground beef
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced finely*
    • 1/2 medium onion, minced finely*
    • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely*
    • 1/4 cup basil, chopped finely*
    • 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • *Make sure you chop these FINELY since your meatballs will be very small. If too large, your meatballs will fall apart easily.
  • Soup:
    • 3 Tbsps olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1.5 medium onion, diced
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 6 stalks celery
    • 6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock
    • 4 cups (1L) beef stock
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 pinch of dried thyme
    • 1 cup risoni pasta (or acini di pepe if you can find it)
    • 4 cups (2 large handfuls) spinach, washed and roughly chopped
    • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Make the meatballs: mix all the meatball ingredients together in a mixing bowl (ground beef, eggs, panko, garlic, onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper). Roll them into 2 cm small meatballs.

This is a time-consuming process. I make it quicker by squeezing small amounts from my fist and then rolling it – sounds confusing, see photos above. (You can make them as big or as small as you like. I tend to make them about 2cm.)

Fry off the meatballs (optional but adds more flavour): In a large pot on HIGH heat, add a small amount of oil and fry the meatballs in small batches for 10-15 seconds until browned. You don’t want to cook the meatballs fully, but only enough to sear the outsides to lock in the flavour. Place the meatballs on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Repeat until all the meatballs are fried off.

Once all the meatballs are fried off, in the same large pot, turn the heat down to MED heat and sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil and cook until the onion is transparent (~5 mins). Add in the celery and carrot and continue cooking until soft and easy to break apart with a spoon. (You can quicken this process by adding on the lid but be careful not to let it burn.) Next, add in the chicken stock, beef stock, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil then turn the heat back down until a light simmer. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 mins, add in the risoni pasta. Boil for 5 minutes then add in the fried meatballs. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the risoni is cooked and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. Turn off the heat and add in the spinach. Stir the spinach into the soup until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve! (Tip: This soup tastes better the next day once the flavours have infused a little more)

Summarized Recipe:

Italian Wedding Soup

Date Published: April 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: April 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, soups
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • Meatballs:
    • 500g extra-lean ground beef
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced finely
    • 1/2 medium onion, minced finely
    • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
    • 1/4 cup basil, chopped finely
    • 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Soup:
    • 3 Tbsps olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1.5 medium onion, diced
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 6 stalks celery
    • 6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock
    • 4 cups (1L) beef stock
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 pinch of dried thyme
    • 1 cup risoni pasta (or acini di pepe if you can find it)
    • 4 cups (2 large handfuls) spinach, washed and roughly chopped
    • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the meatballs: mix all the meatball ingredients together in a mixing bowl (ground beef, eggs, panko, garlic, onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper). Roll them into 2 cm small meatballs.
    • This is a time-consuming process. I make it quicker by squeezing small amounts from my fist and then rolling it – sounds confusing, see photos above. (You can make them as big or as small as you like. I tend to make them about 2cm.)
  2. Fry off the meatballs (optional but adds more flavour): In a large pot on HIGH heat, add a small amount of oil and fry the meatballs in small batches for 10-15 seconds until browned. You don’t want to cook the meatballs fully, but only enough to sear the outsides to lock in the flavour. Place the meatballs on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Repeat until all the meatballs are fried off.
  3. Once all the meatballs are fried off, in the same large pot, turn the heat down to MED heat and sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil and cook until the onion is transparent (~5 mins). Add in the celery and carrot and continue cooking until soft and easy to break apart with a spoon. (You can quicken this process by adding on the lid but be careful not to let it burn.)
  4. Next, add in the chicken stock, beef stock, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil then turn the heat back down until a light simmer. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 mins, add in the risoni pasta. Boil for 5 minutes then add in the fried meatballs. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the risoni is cooked and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. Turn off the heat and add in the spinach. Stir the spinach into the soup until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve! (Tip: This soup tastes better the next day once the flavours have infused a little more)

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