Friday, September 16, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

Soup.  I have been called many things in my life, but being the "Queen of Soup" is my proudest title.  I LOVE soup, in a way that could only be compared to a mother, seeing her first borns face for the first time.  I am not kidding, my love of soup has been ongoing for as long as I can remember.  Chicken noodle soup is by far, my favorite soup.  I must eat it on at least a bi-weekly basis.  In fact, I eat soup many days of the week.  My second favorite soup.....Italian Wedding Soup.  Italian Wedding soup in fact is not a soup served at weddings.  The "wedding" part of the soup pertains to the marriage of the meat and the greens.  They go well together. Another interesting fact is that it is said it actually was a soup original to Spain.  That the "modern" Italian-American version is a much lighter soup.  Regardless of its origin, its name or its meaning, it is a beautiful thing.  

I make several variations of this soup.  This however is my solid recipe, I occasionally stray from. Its like the soup battle of poultry and beef.  I will give you the recipe and discuss variations afterward.  WARNING, you WILL want to make this immediately, its going to be chilly here in the Midwest and its a PERFECT weekend for ZUPPA!

Italian Wedding Soup

Mixture for meatballs-
2 lbs ground turkey or chicken
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, seasoned or plain
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano  
1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
1/4 of small onion-GRATED
1 pinch of dried thyme
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Combine mixture.  Roll into small meatballs.  Bite size.  I am pretty adamant that these are tiny.  In this instance, impatience and hunger over took my OCD.  This makes a lot of meatballs, freeze the ones you don't use flat and then put in a Ziploc and you have meatballs for your next pot!

For the soup-
2 quarts of chicken stock
2 quarts of beef stock
1 lg carrot cut into a SMALL dice or grated
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
2 cups spinach - fresh or  1 cup frozen that has been drained of all liquid
2 cups pastina (uncooked)  Pastina=small pasta.  Orzo, ditalini,  Acini De Pepe

Bring stock to boil and add diced carrots, celery,  and meatballs. Let simmer up to 1 hour, but at least 30 minutes.  10 minutes before serving, add pasta and just before serving add spinach.   If you will not be eating this soup all at one time, you can choose to cook the pasta separate and add it in, however, I never do and the pasta doesn't bloat and stays fairly firm.  

OK.... lets talk about some possible variations.  
1.  I commonly use all ground turkey or chicken.  I do that in many dishes whenever I can sneak it in and it doesn't change the integrity of the soup and ground beef is to strong of flavor in my opinion.  I might use pork, maybe
2. I use the carrot and celery for color only. That is its sole purpose, although I enjoy both in soup, I am a bit of purist.  I think food needs color, you eat with your eyes first!
3.  This is commonly made with only chicken stock.  I like the depth of flavor adding beef stock gives it and since I can't buy pork stock its my way of making my own!
4. If you use frozen spinach, defrost it and then wring it out in a lint free dish towel, HARD.  Any spinach juice will discolor your stock.  If you use regular spinach, make sure to get rid of the tough stems, baby spinach is fine to put it all in.
5.  Orzo, is the most common pasta used for this soup in my opinion.  I prefer ditalini.  Use any short cut pasta or pastina *little pasta* We always called the star shaped pasta at our house "pastina".  
6.  I always use dried herbs for THESE meatballs.  Use garlic salt and GRATE your onion, nobody wants to bite down on a hunk of onion in a delicate meatball.

7.  I am in total disagreement with some "chefs".  I do not believe parm cheese is salty.  I find regular salt to hit a totally different note on your tongue than the "salt" in parm cheese.  I also do not believe  "overworking" meat is terrible.  I want my meatballs tough enough to hold up to a pot of soup, constant stirring and simmering for possibly hours.  

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you or if you have other twists you have eaten or seen!

Your "QUEEN of ZUPPA" chefwannabe


  1. Finally picked up some orzo, so planning to make it this weekend!

  2. Let me know how you like it!! It is one of my fav's and I just made some meatballs the other day and froze them in a single layer and then ziploc'd them. I LOVE having them anytime I want a little of this soup!! Post a pic or let me know here or on Fb!!!

  3. Oh, Chris you just made my day. My oldest loves Italian Wedding, but I never made it for him. Loving it ....pinning it :)

    1. Cool Bibi! This is an older post, I just took a new photo for it! It is so easy, and it freezes awesome and I hope you make it! I love when I see you have stopped by! <3

  4. going to give this a try ..heard of this soup all the time and wanted to try it, like you am a soup lover!this really looks good..when i made it i,ll let you know..thanks