Italian Wedding Soup


I don't know what all of a sudden happened and made me go into a soup obsession.  Maybe it was the cold, maybe it was receiving this jewel, but nonetheless, they seem to be on tap a lot around here and I seem to just find great recipe after great recipe.

You might not have jumped on the band wagon when I made this one, but let me tell you, I would be willing to wager you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like this Italian Wedding soup.  The only argument I can see against this is if you are vegetarian and I would encourage you to make this the dish you go non-vegetarian on just once in your life.
Contrary to what you might first assume, this soup has nothing to do with any Italian marriage  tradition, but is actually a mistranslation in the Italian language and refers to the fact that meat and vegetables go well together.

Now back to what's important... how good this is.  The chicken meatballs are baked with fresh bread crumbs, two cheeses and added to simmer with chicken broth, wine, tiny star pasta, vegetables, fresh spinach and a little dill.  This is good when it's cold, I imagine it would be perfect for someone under the weather and I enjoyed it all week for lunch.

In conclusion, I will try to help you understand the gravity of how much I love this soup by telling you that I'm not sure I will ever be able to make any other type of vegetable soup or chicken noodle soup ever again.  This is a perfect blend of the two and just hits the spot.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.

Italian Wedding Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten
Recipe Notes
I could not find regular chicken sausage.  I found a variety that was blended with spinach and feta and I thought those flavors would be fine.  If there is not ground chicken, you can have a butcher ground chicken breasts for you, but you might not have realized it's in most grocery stores.  I'm not a fan of washing the mini food processor if I don't have to so I've come up with a bread trick for fresh bread crumbs.  Any time I have a few pieces left over from a loaf, I pop them in a freezer.  I take the bread out for a few minutes and then grate it with a cheese grater.  The almost frozen bread makes perfect crumbs.
Freezer Note:  Double the recipe of the meatballs so you can have two batches.  For the batch you are not going to use, place on parchment paper an inch apart and freeze for one to two hours.  Wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in a freezer bag.  Freeze for up to two months.  When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator for one hour.
For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs *see recipe note
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (1 large stock), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta stars (or any other small pasta)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. Using a teaspoon, make mini meatballs and place about 1 inch apart.  (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside. You can also freeze unbaked meatballs at this point for use in a later soup. 

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.


  1. Those meatballs look delicious. I have never seen them baked like that before.

  2. Who knew soup could look so pretty? I've never had meatballs in soup before!

  3. Any Ina Garten recipe is sure to be a winner :). I love the simple elegance of her dishes. Your version is just beautiful!

  4. I have never had Italian wedding soup before...yours looks terrific! I bet it would make a great lunch with some flatbread.

  5. What a great recipe! I'm glad you explained the origins of the name - I thought it's what Italians have traditionally at weddings or something lol.

  6. We are making this for the weekend! Can't wait to try. It looks delicious.

  7. Italian wedding soup really is a beautiful thing. I definitely need to try this recipe!

  8. I always wonder why it's called Italian wedding soup. Looks so good!

  9. Wow, that looks fantasttiiiicc! The only Italian wedding soup I've tried is Corner Bakery's--but I love it. I bet this one is even better :D how interesting about the name fact! And I was so fascinated thinking that it was served at weddings...haha!

  10. We made this over the weekend and it was fantastic! We took your advice and doubled the meatball recipe and I am so happy that I did because we can have another batch of this very easily. Once again, amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  11. This soup looks delicious. Do you think I could make the entire soup and then freeze it?

  12. You should be able to freeze this. I just suggest taking out within a week or two. I get weird about things that go in there for too long. You can thaw in the refrigerator over night. You might need to add a little chicken broth to thin it out after you heat it.