What Pairs Well With Italian Wedding Soup
If its just me, this is a meal. Just give me some crusty bread and Im in heaven! Since this is deemed Italian, I tend to serve this with:
Theres not much that I dont pair with this. This is just such a great recipe to have in your wheelhouse. It freezes beautifully and is one that I honestly have on hand all year long!
Speaking of freezing
The Secret To The Best Italian Wedding Soup
The secret to making the best Italian wedding soup is using homemade meatballs that give the broth lots of flavor. And the trick to the best meatballs is using a combination of meat. For this recipe, I use ground beef and ground pork and mix them together for the tastiest meatballs. You can also use ground turkey instead of beef or pork.
Even though making meatballs sounds a little involved, this soup recipe is simple because you dont need to brown the meatballs beforehand. Cooking them right in the broth saves you time, and also infuses the broth with lots of flavor.
And of course, you can also use frozen meatballs to save time .
Related recipe:Instant Pot White Bean and Sausage Soup
What Is Acini De Pepe And What Other Pasta Could You Use
In Italian, it means seeds of pepper or peppercorns. Its a tiny round-shaped pasta that you tend to boil right in the soup.
If you cant find it you could use orzo, stellini, ditalini or tubetti pasta. Couscous doesnt quite work and tends to turn gummy.
I know someone will ask so I might as well put it out there. Yes, you can use cooked rice but make sure you cook it in stock!.
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More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
You might love these other fast and easy weeknight soup recipes too:
- Old-Fashioned Instant Pot Beef Stew Recipe is hearty and full of tender, juicy pieces of beef and potatoes.
Do you LOVE this recipe? Leave us a review below to tell us why!
Yield: Prep Time: Additional Time: Total Time:
This 5-Ingredient Wedding Soup is made with frozen meatballs for a super fast and easy dump-and-go weeknight dinner.
- 1 package frozen Italian-style meatballs
- 10 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups spinach or endive, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 cup Acini de Pepe pasta
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
Nonna Approved Tips For The Best Italian Wedding Soup
There are a few things that are crucial to making truly amazing soup. From my decades of making this, this is what I consider tried and true Nonna approved tips!
- Use a panade when making your meatballs. This is crucial to keep them moist!
- Use both pork and beef in your meatball mixture. Could you use ground chicken? You could but you may need to add a tad more panade and maybe a little fat to keep them from getting tough.
- MINI meatballs you do not make big honkin sized meatballs as you would for meatballs and spaghetti
- No shredded chicken. This isnt Italian Chicken Noodle soup. Okay fine add it if you want
- Escarole no kale, no spinach but escarole. Spinach doesnt give it the right flavor and kale is just funky
- Yes, you need to add the egg and parmesan but it helps give it that unctuous flavor and mouth-feel
- Use tiny pasta. It doesnt take over the dish but does give some body to the stock.
- Cook the pasta in the pot with the rest of the stuff. If you need more stock, add it. The pasta will plump even more after its fully cooked so you may need to add a tad more stock upon reheating. Thats completely fine and normal.
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Making Italian Wedding Soup With Frozen Meatballs:
Now that I know that this recipe is a winner, I always double the meatball part of the recipe, and freeze half of the meatballs for later so that I can quickly make another batch.
To do this, just form the second set of meatballs on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are frozen completely, put them into a gallon freezer bag.
The next time you want to make this soup, just boil the broth, toss in the spinach, frozen meatballs, and pasta, and cook until the pasta and meatballs are done.
You can also use store bought frozen meatballs in this recipe if you dont have the time or patience to make your own.
Can I Freeze It
Yes! Italian Wedding Soup can be frozen for up to 2 months. To do so, first cool the soup to room temperature then transfer it into individual quart containers. I love to whip an extra large batch of this recipe specifically to freeze a few emergency dinners for later.
To reheat, you can either thaw the quart container in the fridge overnight or run some hot water around the outside to release it, then heat it up in a saucepan over the stovetop at medium heat.
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How To Make The Best Easy Bean Soup
Here is a quick breakdown of the easy steps to prepare it:
How To Make Italian Sausage Soup
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Italian Wedding Soup Ingredient Substitutions
Spinach The spinach can be substituted with chopped kale.
Ground Chicken Ground turkey, beef or a combination of pork and beef can be used instead of ground chicken.
Orzo As I mentioned above acini de pepe is the traditional pasta for this soup. Any small pasta such as stellini, tubetti, or ditalini would also be good substitutions.
Panko My preference is to use panko in meatballs, but you can use traditional dry bread crumbs if you prefer. If you choose to use Italian seasoned bread crumbs in the meatballs youll want to cut back the amount of Italian seasoning you add to them.
Which Kinds Of Teeny Tiny Pasta To Use
You need a very small pasta for this dish because you want a quick-cooking bite of pasta in every spoonful. Here are some suggestions:
Acini de pepe: The name says it all, these pasta are about the size and shape of a peppercorn. They cook in about 6 minutes.
Alfabeto: This letters-of-the-alphabet pasta appeals to children. Depending on their thickness they cook in 5-9 minutes.
Ditalini: The name means “little thimbles” in Italian. They cook in 10 minutes.
Israeli couscous: These little orbs of pasta are not to be confused with their more delicate wheat couscous cousins. They remain toothsome and are the size of pearls.
Stellette: These “little stars” are sometimes lovingly called avemarie because they cook in the time that it takes to say one Hail Mary.
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How To Serve Italian Wedding Soup
This soup is so hearty, it makes a wonderful meal when served with a nice crusty loaf of bread.
If desired, sprinkle the individual bowls of soup with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Grated Parmesan cheese on the top of each serving is beautiful and adds another wonderful layer of flavor.
This is the quintessential comfort soup.
If you dont make the broth , seek out a good-quality purchased broth. The meatballs can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Talk about a spoonful of deliciousness with every single bite!
Ingredients For Italian Wedding Soup
- ground chicken ground turkey can be used too. I recommend using 93/7% lean.
- panko gluten-free panko is available at many stores if you need the recipe to be gluten-free.
- parmesan cheese Use the good stuff and not the powder in the green can.
- Italian seasoning
- low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- parmesan cheese rind adding the rind gives the soup great flavor. I always keep my rinds in a freezer bag in the freezer so I have them on hand for soups like this.
- fresh dill
- orzo if you can find acini de pepe that is the traditional pasta that is used in this soup.
- baby spinach
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Some Tips From Nonna For The Best Italian Wedding Soup
There are some tricks to making this soup truly delicious. Nonna shared her tips from making this for decades.
- Make ahead-Nonnas top tip is to make this ahead of time. Even two days ahead of time . The flavors will all come together even more and taste better if you slowly simmer it to heat it up when ready to eat it.
- Meatball mixture- could be made with a combo of beef and pork. I like to make it with turkey, but my top customer prefers the beef version.
- Meatball size- depends on your preference. My Calabrian mother-in-law makes the mini meatballs when making her soup. My kids like it either way. Just be sure not to make gigantic meatballs.
- Greens-escarole is the main green traditionally used in this soup. Spinach could be subbed. Kale is also fine, but its not the same as using escarole.
- Pasta-a tiny pasta is the key pasta to use for this recipe. Search around and if you cant find acini pasta, ditalini is the best next option . My mother-in-law likes to cook the pasta in the broth. I do not like to cook the pasta in the broth. We constantly argue about that. But if you would like one less pot to clean up, go ahead and bring the broth to a boil and add in the pasta. I find that we always have leftovers and the pasta absorbs too much of the broth. If that happens, you could add more broth or water to loosen it up when you reheat it.
If you prefer to bake the meatballs, do it in a 400° oven for 15 minutes.
How To Shape Meatballs:
You can make large meatballs and yield about 18-20 meatballs or shape mini meatballs and get about 35-40 meatballs. The mini meatballs will take less time to cook.
Dont feel intimidated to try this Classic Italian Wedding Soup Recipe. It truly is so easy to make and kids love the meatballs.
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How To Make Italian Wedding Soup
Begin by making the meatballs.
In a large bowl, beat the egg with the chives, sage and garlic.
Add the ground beef, sausage, cheese, breadcrumbs, and salt.
Mash with your hands until evenly combined.
Roll the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place on a greased oven-safe rack.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside.
To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, beef broth, water, wine, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil until the pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes .
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Reduce the heat to low and add the spinach and meatballs.
Simmer for a few minutes, until the spinach is wilted and the meatballs are warmed through. Ladle into bowls and serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Does Italian Wedding Soup Freeze Well
Yes! This happens to be a nice soup recipe to freeze. You could easily freeze whatever leftovers you have. Just be sure to let the soup cool completely and then store in freezer safe airtight storage containers. Leave a little bit of space on top of the container as the soup will expand when it freezes.
To reheat its best to thaw in the fridge overnight. When youre ready to heat it up, just place the soup back into a pot on the stove and heat until heated through.
What Is Acini De Pepe
If youve ever seen a small pasta pearl that looks almost like couscous, thats acini de pepe! Literally translated as peppercorns in Italian, its a small ball of pasta thats typically used in Italian wedding soup.
This tiny pasta is perfect for soups because it gives you that yummy al dente noodle texture without taking over the whole broth! You can always swap this with orzo in a pinch which looks more like rice but you can find acini de pepe in most grocery stores.
What Do You Need To Make Italian Wedding Soup
Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup
Check the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and directions.
- Olive oil to brown the meatballs in a skillet, I use extra-virgin Sicilian olive oil.
- Ground Turkey You could use ground chicken or ground beef, I like 80% lean.
- Garlic Use fresh garlic cloves and mince them yourself for best flavor.
- Fresh Italian Parsley
- Pasta-Acini Di Pepe Pasta
- Greens- Escarole is the vegetable youll most often seen the soup made with. Kale is another option. BUT spinach is what I love, since I can easily get my kids to eat it . Escarole is my favorite choice.
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Do I Have To Sear The Meatballs
Technically no, but it will add extra flavor and color to the meatballs. Its an extra step that I highly recommend.
Making Italian wedding soup is really easy! Its definitely one of my favorite soups to make for lunch. I love to eat it with some rustic Italian bread or with rosemary focaccia.
If youre into soups, like me, check out my favorite soup recipes:
How To Make Italian Wedding Soup:
- Make Meatballs- In a large mixing bowl, mix meatball ingredients by hand until well combined. Scoop out 1 tbsp of meatball mixture and roll in hands to form a ball. Repeat this process until you have about 48 small meatballs. Place meatballs evenly spaced on a lightly oiled baking sheet & bake at 400F for 15-20 mins until meatballs are cooked through. Internal temperatures should reach at least 165F.
- Make Soup Base Meanwhile, in a large stock pot melt butter over medium-low heat. Saute diced onions & sliced carrots in the butter for 5 minutes until onions start the become tender. Stir occasionally to keep onions from burning. Stir in garlic, dried thyme, and dried sage. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Pour in pesto, lemon juice, chicken broth, and salt. Give soup base a quick stir and turn heat to high to bring everything to a boil. Turn heat back down to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add Pearl Couscous Stir pearl couscous into soup base and simmer for another 20-25 minutes until pasta is tender.
- Finish & Plate Stir in diced red peppers, chopped fresh spinach, and meatballs. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes until spinach is wilted and meatballs are warmed through. Pour yourself a big ol bowl and top with copious amounts of shaved Parmesan and a bit of fresh cracked pepper.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Italian Wedding Soup
How to serve Italian Wedding Soup?
This soup doesnt need much in the way of garnish. We like to sprinkle each bowl with some parmesan cheese. You could add fresh parsley or basil too if you have some on hand.
How can I make this soup more spicy?
To add a kick to your soup, you can use your favorite brand of spicy Italian meatballs. You can also add crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
How should I serve leftover wedding soup?
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Can I freeze Italian Wedding Soup?
Freeze the soup in a freezer-safe container for up to six months. Defrost overnight in the fridge then reheat to serve. If youre worried about the pasta getting overcooked, cook the noodles separately then add them just before serving.
Is Italian Wedding Soup Healthy
This one is! Full of protein and vitamin-rich vegetables, while still being low-carb, I consider wedding soup to be very healthy.
Of course, if red meat is an issue you can totally swap it out for ground turkey or chicken. The pasta and/or breadcrumbs can also be swapped for your preferred gluten-free and/or dairy-free variety. There are several lentil or chickpea pasta options that will also add extra fiber and protein!
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