Best Ever Italian Wedding Soup

10 Dec

You don’t need a wedding invitation to tuck into this soup, quite possibly the best Marianne and I have ever made on our Sunday night cooking projects. And that’s saying something, as we have made some kicking soups (escarole and lentil in particular). Regular readers know that my friend Marianne and I like to cook big on Sundays, not to eat at the moment, but to pack up for weekday work lunches. We couldn’t agree on what to make — she wanted white chili and I wanted minestrone — but the fact that I had a bunch of chopped meat and both I and her husband, Ted, had rich turkey stock from our respective Thanksgiving roasts decided it for us.

Tiny little meatballs packed with cheesy-herby flavor....

Tiny little meatballs packed with cheesy-herby flavor….

The stock is everything in a good soup, which is why I try to always have some homemade stuff on hand. Please, please, please…next time you roast a bird (or get a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket), simmer those bones with some onion, garlic (unpeeled), herbs, maybe a carrot or a stalk of celery, and a few peppercorns for a couple of hours and strain yourself some stock (freezes well). The commercial stuff is too salty and just can’t hold a candle to the real thing.

Italian wedding soup , as far as I can determine, is an Italian-American favorite, based perhaps on a minestra maritata that dates back to Spanish-controlled parts of Italy (Lazio and Campania) and Toledo. The maritata part refers to how well the flavors marry together, not how the soup will fortify newlyweds for the tasks at hand.

Simmering away merrily on a Sunday night

Simmering away merrily on a Sunday night

We took some hints from a highly-rated recipe by Giada De Laurentiis (who causes annoyance amongst those of us who wonder if she actually eats any of her own food and who is a dead ringer for my friend Gabrielle — had to say it!) but we modified merrily. The absence of pork is probably the biggest difference. I quite like an all-beef meatball (especially when there is cheese mixed in) and felt that it fit the flavor profile better, but you could certainly substitute half the beef with some lean pork.

This was not a hard soup to put together and it is just off-the-hook flavorful and warming and left us wide-eyed with wonder. A match made in heaven, indeed! Buon appetito amici miei!

Packed with meatballs and greens, this is one of the best soups I have ever had!

Packed with meatballs and greens, this is one of the best soups I have ever had!

Italian Wedding Soup


1 medium onion, grated (about ¾ Cup)

2 tsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp dried parsley

1 large egg

1-2 tsp minced garlic (2 nice fat cloves)

1 tsp salt

2 slices fresh white bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces

¾ Cup Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano or other grating cheese

1.3 lbs beef

Freshly ground black pepper


14-16 Cups (2 quarts) good turkey or chicken stock (low sodium preferred)

1 lb chopped spinach (frozen is fine)

2 large eggs

2 Tbs freshly grated Parmigiano plus extra to finish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Meatballs: Stir the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and beef. Using approximately 1.5 tsp of meat for each, shape into 1”meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Handle lightly (makes upwards of 60).

Soup: Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and the spinach (or your leafy green of choice: endive or chard – if using chard, give it five extra minutes in the pot before adding the meatballs) and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the greens wilted and tender. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Start swirling the stock in a circle, then drizzle the egg mixture into the moving stock, stirring gently with a fork to form thin strands of eggs, about a minute. Season to taste and serve in bowls, topping with additional grated cheese, if desired.

You may want to serve it with some acini di pepe or other tiny pasta stirred in!


13 Responses to “Best Ever Italian Wedding Soup”

  1. Easy Italian Recipes March 6, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Hi! Your Italian wedding soup has been nominated as one of the “Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipes on the Net”. To vote for it, please visit (your recipe is positioned at #74).

  2. mthekey December 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Yummy, Yummy! I just printed this. Happened to have some fresh stock in the fridge from a pollo I baked. Keep em cumin!

  3. December 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Yummy, Yummy… I printed it up. Happen to have some stock from the last chicken I baked. 🙂 Keep em cumin…had to do a little play on words.

  4. Mad Dog December 10, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    I’d like to see this soup right now! Especially with those meatballs – delicious 😉

  5. Karen December 10, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    I have stock in the freeze…I can see this soup in my future. 🙂

  6. Marianne Goralski December 10, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    Absolutely best soup ever. The stock made it delicious….it’s all gone already!

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