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Published January 1, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This super tasty wedding soup recipe is loaded with homemade meatballs, veggies, escarole, and pasta simmered in delicious chicken stock.
It’s that time of year when the soup is the main entrée. Like in my Scotch Broth Soup or my Minestrone, It’s comforting; it’s hearty and perfect for those cold wintery days.
Italian wedding soup is an Italian American dish, mush like Chicken Parmigiana or Cioppino, adapted and popularized by Italians who immigrated to America. It consists of:
- Chicken Stock
- Acini di Pepe Pasta
Why Do They Call It Wedding Soup
It originally stems from the Italian word “minestra mariata, which translates to “wedded broths.” Italian Americans adapted it to wedding soup. However, It’s more about marrying flavors in a broth as opposed to being served at weddings in Italy, which it is not.
How to Make Wedding Soup Meatballs
Making meatballs is easy to make. Here’s a quick overview of how to make them:
- Add ground beef, pork, small diced yellow onions, finely minced garlic, parsley, grated parmesan cheese, eggs, and water-soaked and squeezed-out Italian Bread, salt, and pepper to a large bowl.
- Mix with your hands until combined and form into small ping-pong-sized balls.
- Place on a sheet tray and bake until browned and cooked through, or pan roast in some oil in a pan and cook through, finish in an oven, or simmer in the soup broth at the end.
Set them aside until it’s time to serve up the soup
This recipe makes quite a few meatballs, which I did on purpose to freeze half the batch.
How to Make the Soup
Once the meatballs are done cooking, the soup is incredibly easy to prepare.
- Add the mirepoix to a large-size pot with some oil on low heat to sweat the vegetables for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the chicken stock and simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water and set aside.
- Once everything is done, it is then time to plate up your soup.
Do not brown the vegetables.
How to Serve It
If you plan on serving this soup immediately and finishing it on the same day, I advise you to add everything to the pot and serve it.
If you’re going to be grazing all day for a few days, then plate it like this so that the greens wilt and the pasta doesn’t turn to mush:
- Add some of the soup broth with vegetables to a bowl.
- Place in some escarole (sub with baby spinach if you’d like).
- Add in some cooked acini di pepe.
- Place in some meatballs.
- Grate in Parmesan cheese and serve
Make-Ahead and Reheat
How to Make Ahead: Make the soup and keep the meatballs, broth with vegetables, and acini di pepe separate until the day of serving it.
How to Reheat: Place your desired amount of wedding soup into a small pot and heat over low heat until hot. You can also heat it in a microwave until hot.
How to Store: Place in a container with a lid and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can absolutely freeze it, and it does so well. Once the soup is cool in the fridge in a container with a lid, please place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw it for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating it.
chef notes + tips
- This recipe makes quite a few meatballs, which I did on purpose to freeze half the batch.
More Soup Recipes
- Clam Chowder
- Pork Confit and Split Pea Soup
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- Chicken Dumpling Soup Recipe
Homemade Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
For the Meatballs:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 1 peeled small diced yellow onion
- 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup finely minced parsley
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 loaf Italian bread soaked in water and squeezed
- 5 eggs
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Soup:
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 peeled medium diced yellow onion
- 3 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 4 stalks medium diced celery
- 4 peeled medium diced carrots
- 128 ounces chicken stock
- 2 heads escarole or 8 cups packed baby spinach
- 1 pound cooked and cooled acini di pepe
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed in and form small ping pong sized meatballs and set them on sheet trays lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in the oven at 400° for 22-25 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.
- Freeze ½ of the meatballs and set the other ½ aside.
- Soup: Add the olive oil to a large soup pot along with the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sweat over low heat for 15 minutes. Do not brown them.
- Add in the broth and simmer over low to medium heat for 15 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- To Plate: Place some of the broth and vegetables into a bowl. Add in some of the cooked and cooled acini di pepe along with a small handful of escarole, and 5-6 meatballs.
- Grate on optional parmesan cheese.
- How to Make Ahead: Make the soup and keep the meatballs, broth with vegetables and acini di pepe separate until the day of serving it.
- How to Reheat: Place your desired amount of wedding soup into a small size pot and heat over low heat until hot. You can also simply heat in a microwave until hot.
- How to Store: Place in a container with a lid and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- How to Freeze: You can absolutely freeze it and it does so well. Once the soup is cool in the fridge in a container with a lid, place in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw it for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating it.
- This recipe makes quite a few meatballs, which I did on purpose so I could freeze half the batch.
I have made this soup 3 times already. It is super delish. And I still have some left over frozen meatballs for another one. And as usual I added in red Thai peppers to spice it up..mmmm good
I’ve made this recipe several times! Doubling the recipe for the meatballs is the greatest idea. The second time you make the soup — quick and easy!
So delicious! This recipe is one I crave. And the extra meatballs are great to gave in the freezer and pull out when you need them. LOVE!
Made this for my grandsons and they loved it!
I just discovered your website and I am very excited to find this recipe. Your story about it really interested me because the only wedding soup I’ve ever had that I really loved was a canned soup made in Italy. It’s been a long time since I had escarole, but if I recall, it’s kind of tough. Should it be shredded before we put it in the bowl? Can’t wait to make this!
No, it wilts in there just like any other leafy green 🙂
Your recipe’s always look so good and you make it look so easy to make! Thank you for that! I have made several of your recipes and they are always good!!
Meatballs were time consuming but so delicious. Soup was very good too. I used spinach since I couldn’t find the other. Definitely will make it again! Wish I could attach a pic of it as (sorry Chef) mine kind of looked better than yours. LOL. Thank you for this delicious recipe.
I’m a chef from northeast Ohio. When my Italian Grandmother made it she would put a whole chicken a let it simmer until the meat fell off the bones. That how we do it in Ohio. Try it I Guarantee you’ll love it . By the way I really love your hat what is the name of it?
This is on my menu for this week! Can I use Couscous instead of Acini di pepe? Having a hard time finding it….
yes, Israeli cous cous
This was incredibly satisfying to make and to eat. Those meatballs are sooo good.
One word: ridiculous! This was so good! I cut the meatball recipe in half and still had to freeze some!
This is the best soup I have ever made. Following instructions, everything turned out Great 😌! We are Italian now and my husband thinks it’s the best ever also😉
Your recipe reminds me of a time long ago, when I was very young and I ordered Italian Wedding soup at a local Italian restaurant in NYC’s Little Italy. Thank you for the walk down memory lane. And thank you for this delicious recipe. I did go ahead and add some parmesan cheese rind to the cooking stock for a little added depth of flavor. Turns out it was a good move. Again thank you!
Billy, this soup looks so amazing! I need to try it out before it gets too warm here in Phoenix, which is like March, LOL
perfect soup to get you through winter
Billy this soup looks AMAZING and those meatballs, especially. I also appreciate that you’ve really explained exactly how to make this recipe, which I intend to make this weekend! 🙂
Oh my goodness this looks amazing! With all this horrible cold weather, I need a bowl of this soup STAT