My husband and I love Italian Wedding Soup, so I make it quite often. Its heartiness makes it the perfect lunch or light dinner served with a salad and a nice bread. As I was making a batch for the freezer, I wondered how this soup got its name. It seemed obvious that it would have been served at Italian weddings – Right? So, as I was baking and making soup, I asked Siri to get me the low down! (You gotta love that girl, Siri!) As it turns out, It’s not associated with a wedding at all. WHAT??? The term “Wedding Soup“ actually comes from the Italian Phrase Minestra Maritata – or Married Soup. This is a reference to the flavors produced by the combination or Marriage of the greens (spinach) and the meat that goes into the soup. The soup is made all over Italy but most likely originated in Spain. Interesting!!!! Thanks Siri!
Here is the recipe. Give it a try!!
ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
Making the Meatballs:
1 pound Chicken Sausage or Pork Sausage (Casings removed)
2/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs (Panko or GF if you wish)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
¼ cup Grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and gently combine them until they all come together. I use a fork. To do this. (You don’t over mix or the meatballs will be tough). Using a teaspoon drop the meatballs onto a baking sheet. (You should have about 30 meatballs. Just make sure they are all about the same size so that they bake evenly). Bake the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Making the Soup ( I do this while the meatballs are baking)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup minced onion
1 cup carrot -diced to ¼ inch (3 carrots)
¾ cup celery – diced to ¼ inch (2 stalks)
10 cups Chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup small pasta ( I use Acini, Stars or tubetini)
¼ cup minced fresh dill or parsley
12 ounces baby spinach, washed, and rough chopped.
While the meatballs are baking, start the soup. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Stirring once or twice so they don’t burn. Add the Chicken Broth and wine ( if you are using it ) to the pot with the sautéed vegetables. Bring this to a boil and cook for 6 or 7 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Add the pasta to the broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the pasta is soft. Add the meatballs and fresh dill or parsley to the soup Taste for salt and pepper and add a bit more if it is needed. Stir in the spinach and simmer for another minute or two until the spinach wilts in the broth. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with an extra sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
To make the meatballs- you can use either Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage or Sweet Italian Pork Sausage.
If you want to make this Gluten Free – Substitute rice for the pasta and use gluten free bread crumbs or panko to make the meatballs.
I use spinach as the green in the soup but I’ve also used Kale and Arugula. Really, any type of bitter green will work. Just chop it first before putting it into the soup.
This soup keeps in the fridge for about 5 days and it freezes well. You may need to add water when you reheat it because the pasta will thicken the soup as it sits.