Italian wedding soup is a hearty dish the whole family will love. It’s typically made with a mixture of tender mini meatballs, veggies (fresh carrots, escarole, and onion), small pasta (we like orzo), and savory broth (beef and chicken). Just simmer and serve with a fresh loaf of bread and you have a scrumptious meal.
What is Italian Wedding Soup?
The term “wedding soup” comes from the Italian phrase “minestra mariata,” which directly translates to “married soup”—which speaks to the flavor produced by the “marriage” of ingredients. Some forms of early minestra mariata contained many more meats than the modern Italian-American versions, which typically contain only meatballs.
How to Make the Meatballs
I’ve seen many different variations of meat used for the meatballs. Beef and pork, beef and sweet Italian sausage, all beef, or even ground turkey or chicken. I prefer to use a meatloaf mix, which is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal. You can typically find this premixed in the grocery store for ease. You can also play with the spices and flavoring.
Italian wedding soup meatballs should be small, bite-sized, meatballs to compliment the soup without taking over. Aim for about 1/2-3/4 inches thick, using a teaspoon as a guide for volume. I prefer to give the meatballs a quick sear in a pan before adding them to the soup to drain a bit of the fat and improve the texture.
Alternatively, you could skip this step and add them right into the broth raw, or bake them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 °F before adding.
Make Extra Meatballs and Freeze Them
This recipe uses a half-pound of ground meat. I have doubled the meatball mixture in the past and freeze half to be used the next time I make it, making it even easier with the mix already made up! Just be sure to thaw before cooking or adding to the soup.
How to Make Italian Wedding Soup
I initially thought this soup would be involved and time-consuming, but it proved to be an easy weeknight dinner that’s nearly made in one pot. I season the meatball mixture first. Then I warm up the oil in a Dutch oven and tenderize the garlic and chopped vegetables. While the veggies are sauteeing and softening, I roll up the meatballs.
Add the broth to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil, meanwhile give the meatballs a quick sear in a frying pan or skillet. From here we can add in all remaining ingredients to the dutch oven and leave on a low simmer for 20 minutes so the pasta can cook in the broth (or longer for a stronger marriage of flavors!).
Don’t forget to serve with a crunchy baguette!Print
Hearty Italian wedding soup recipe made with a mixture of tender mini meatballs, fresh carrots, escarole, and onion, orzo, and savory broth.
- 1/2 pound of meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork, and veal)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/2 a medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups escarole, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup of orzo, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, split as directed
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients. Mix with your hands until completely incorporated. Roll meat into 1/2-3/4 inch thick meatballs (35-40 meatballs). Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large pan over medium-low heat. Sear meatballs for about 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Drain excess fat.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Sauté garlic, carrots, and onion until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Pour in chicken and beef stock and bring to a boil.
- Mix in escarole, orzo, and the meatballs. Continue to gently boil for about 10 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through. Turn down the heat to low and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Serve warm with your favorite bread and enjoy.
I prefer to give the meatballs a quick sear in a pan before adding them to the soup to drain a bit of the fat and improve the texture. Alternatively, you could skip this step and add them right into the broth raw, or bake them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 °F before adding.
- Serving Size: About 1 cup
- Calories: 220
- Sugar: 2.6g
- Sodium: 963mg
- Fat: 6.4g
- Saturated Fat: 2.4g
- Carbohydrates: 13.2g
- Fiber: 1.4g
- Protein: 25.8g
- Cholesterol: 80mg
Keywords: easy italian wedding soup