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Craving some Italian wedding soup but feel like it’s complicated? Keep reading for an easy-to-follow easy yet savory Italian wedding soup recipe that will satisfy that craving.
Italian wedding soup. Did you know its original name in Italian is minestra maritata? This was translated to either married or wedding soup/broth. The name refers to the blend of flavors of the vegetables and meat, not a wedding. It is the marriage of flavors. However, most individuals in North American refer to it by the Italian wedding soup recipe name.
As delicious as it is, some don’t mind having this in rotation every week. Also, please note that everyone has a different variation of the soup and how they make it. Today, I will be sharing the recipe for how I make this particular Italian wedding soup recipe at home.
Tools you’ll need
Time or an extra pair of hands. While the recipe is quite easy to follow, the meatballs do take a good amount to make. I’d probably say to expect just the meatball-making process to take about 30-40 minutes once you have everything mixed.
The rest of the recipe goes rather quickly. But if you have extra help nearby, for sure have someone help you make the meatballs because it’s the most time-consuming portion.
First thing you’ll need is 1 small pot and one large pot. For this recipe and the included ingredients, go for a 6-quart stock pot. I started with a 4.5-quart pot and was always close to overflowing it that I would have to set aside some of the broth. For a family of 4, it leaves plenty for seconds and leftovers. But to be honest, I’d get an even larger pot and double the recipe if you have room to store it.
You’ll also need a large mixing bowl and a cookie sheet for your meatballs.
- 1 bay leaf *
- Ground pepper
- 1 tsp oregano *
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- Fresh Italian parsley
- 1 slice of sourdough bread
- 1 egg
- 5 celery stocks
- 5 whole carrots
- 1 whole bag/container of fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 lb ground grass-fed beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 bunch escarole or 12oz pearl couscous
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 – 32oz chicken broth cartons
- 1 – 32oz chicken bone broth carton
Red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, escarole
Okay, so first step: finely chop the onion, Italian parsley, garlic, and the slice of the bread. Add everything to your mixing bowl. You can use your knife to chop the bread instead of tearing it apart with your hands. I include the crust and all.
For this soup, the meatballs are made rather small in size. So I recommend you aim in chopping the ingredients and more particularly the onion, to be finely chopped. You don’t want large chunks of onion getting in the way of you forming the meatballs. However, this would be a personal preference.
Next, add your egg into the bowl as well and stir until everything is evenly combined. This way, everything is coated with the egg.
Add the beef and pork and mix until well combined.
And finally, make small meatballs with your hands or by using a cookie scooper and set them aside on a cookie sheet. Aim for 1/2 inch in diameter, but any size to your liking will do.
For the soup, you’ll want to prepare the pearl couscous separately and then add it to the soup when serving. This way the couscous isn’t sitting in the broth and getting all mushy.
Also, it allows you to freeze or save some of the soup for later. However, if you’d like you can simply add the couscous to the same pot but just after the carrots are halfway cooked.
So in a separate small pot, prepare the pearl couscous according to the packing directions. Once done, add in the olive oil, mix, and set aside. This will prevent the couscous from drying up and let’s you store it in the fridge for later.
Now let’s start on the soup.
Next, slice your carrots and celery to your liking. I like to slice the carrots in circles and the celery in half-moon shapes.
Roughly chop the escarole or spinach. On the day I photographed the recipe, I only had spinach on hand so that is what I used. If you use spinach, you can chop it or leave it as is and simply toss it into the pot.
Into a large pot, add the chicken broth and spinach. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes.
Next, carefully add the meatballs and let them simmer for about 5 minutes. You want the meatballs to cook halfway through.
Once the meatballs are halfway done, add in the bay leaf, carrots, and celery. Let it simmer until the carrots are soft.
Turn off the heat and pour the bone broth into the pot. Stir for a richer flavor and added the benefits. Bone broth is so, so good for you.
Season with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.
Finally serve by adding some couscous into a bowl and pouring in your soup. Here you can add anything extra like some parmesan cheese.
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe Recommendations and Substitutions
- My biggest suggestion is to double the recipe if you can. The meats are sold in 1 lb packages, so you can save yourself the trouble of using up the rest of the meat by doubling the recipe. Or, simply double the meatballs and freeze half for whenever you feel like making another batch of soup.
- When serving, you can season it with red pepper flakes or parmesan cheese.
- You can use already-made frozen meatballs if you’d like.
- If you can find any, add half a parmesan rind for a few minutes to the broth for even more flavor.
- You can also add zucchini as well if you want more veggies.
- When the soup is almost done, beat an egg with a bit of lemon juice and stir it into the pot.
- Feel free to use a cookie scooper to make the meatballs.
So there are several substitutions you could make for an Italian wedding soup recipe. Some to make make it your own and some to make it more authentic.
- Substitute homemade stock instead of store-bought broth for a richer flavor.
- You could also use vegetable broth instead.
- Instead of beef and pork, you can use ground turkey, chicken, lamb, or sausage. Some ditch the ground meat and add already-cooked shredded chicken at the end.
- You can substitute the pearl couscous with rice, orzo, or green lentils.
- Substitute escarole or kale for the spinach.
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 bay leaf optional
- 2 32 oz chicken broth cartons
- 1 32 ox chicken bone broth carton
- 1 bag/container fresh baby spinach or 1 bunch escarole
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano optional
- 4 celery stocks
- 5 whole carrots
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 12 oz pearl couscous or acini de pepe
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
- 1 slice sourdough bread can also use white bread or bread crumbs
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb 1/2 lb ground pork
- Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves, parsley, and sourdough bread. Place into a mixing bowl.
- Add the egg into the bowl and stir until everything is evenly mixed.
- Then, add the beef and pork and mix until well combined.
- Form small meatballs and place them on a cookie sheet/s and set aside.
- In a separate small pot, prepare the pearl couscous according to the packing directions. Once done, add in the olive oil, mix, and set aside.
- Slice your carrots and celery to your liking.
- Roughly chop the spinach.
- Into your large main pot, add the chicken broth and spinach. Cook for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.
- Carefully add the meatballs and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Then, add your bay leaf, carrots, and celery and let it simmer until the carrots are soft.
- Once the couscous is done, turn off the heat and add in the bone broth and stir for a richer flavor and added benefits.
- Season with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.
- Serve by adding couscous into a bowl then adding in the soup.
- Can use homemade stock instead of store-bought broth.
- Can also use vegetable broth instead.
- Double the recipe if you can. Or double the meatballs and freeze half.
- Can season with red pepper flakes or parmesan cheese.
- Can substitute meats with ground turkey, chicken, lamb, sausage, or cooked shredded chicken.
- Substitute for pearl couscous: rice, orzo, or green lentils.
- Can use store-bought frozen meatballs instead.
- Add half a parmesan rind for a few minutes in the broth for even more flavor.
- Substitute for spinach: escarole or kale.
- Want more vegetables? Try zucchini.
- When the soup is almost done, you can beat an egg with a bit of lemon and stir it into the pot.
Looking for More Easy Recipes?
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If you have any other substitution ideas or recommendations to try, let me know in the comments.