Favorite Italian Wedding Soup
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This easy Italian wedding soup recipe is the absolute BEST! My whole family loves it, and yours will, too. Check out the rave reviews.
In the soup aisle of Target, my tear-streaked five-year-old was looking forlornly at the spot where her favorite soup used to reside. For a year, I’d been scooping up every box of Archer Farms Italian Wedding Soup I could get my hands on. She ate it almost every day for lunch at school. And sadly, it had been discontinued.
So I got to work creating a homemade Italian wedding soup recipe that tasted exactly like her favorite store bought version.
The upside to making it myself was that I could use quality ingredients and eliminate the parmesan cheese to make it a dairy free recipe. (This way, my other daughter with a dairy allergy could enjoy it as well.)
We all loved it, and I’ve been making this recipe in double batches ever since. What makes it so easy is that you don’t need to brown the meatballs beforehand. Cooking them in the broth saves you time, and also infuses the broth with lots of flavor.
This soup is delicious, comforting, and hearty enough for dinner, especially if you serve it with a salad and some good, fresh crusty bread.
Best Pasta to Use in Italian Wedding Soup:
My favorite pasta to use in Italian Wedding Soup is Acini de Pepe. These are tiny pasta balls that are perfect for soup because they don’t overtake the other ingredients.
Shortcuts and Substitutions:
- If you can’t find Acini de Pepe, you can substitute another small noodle such as ditalini, small shells, or orzo.
- If you own a food processor, you can use it to make this recipe even faster. Just grate/chop the onion, parsley, garlic, and even the bread right in the processor.
- I prefer to use spinach in Italian Wedding Soup, but many people like to use escarole as a substitute. You can also use fresh spinach in place of frozen spinach.
- Several commenters have substituted ground turkey for the beef/pork with good results.
Make Ahead Freezer Cooking Tip:
Now that I know that this recipe is a winner, I always double the meatball part of the recipe, and freeze half of the meatballs for later so that I can quickly make another batch.
To do this, just form the second set of meatballs on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the freezer.
Once the meatballs are frozen completely, put them into a gallon freezer bag.
The next time you want to make this soup, just boil the broth, toss in the spinach, frozen meatballs, and pasta, and cook until the pasta and meatballs are done.
Avoiding Greasy Broth:
I prefer to use lean pork and beef in this recipe to cut down on grease in the broth. Another alternative is to skim the fat from the broth prior to serving.
Some commenters suggested pre-cooking the meatballs in the oven to eliminate grease, but I personally like to cook them directly in the broth because it adds great flavor.
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 slice white bread, crusts trimmed, grated or shredded
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional
- 8 oz lean ground beef
- 8 oz ground pork
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
- approx 6-8 oz of Acini de Pepe or other tiny pasta*
- 2 tbsp parmesan, optional
- To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Then add the cheese, beef, and pork. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs, and place on a baking sheet. I prefer the meatballs to be on the smaller side, but you can make them any size you want.
- To make the soup: Bring the broth and frozen spinach to a boil in a large pot. Add the meatballs (uncooked) and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t stick. Add the pasta and continue cooking at a low boil until both the pasta and meatballs are cooked (approx 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving, if you wish.
After you’ve made this soup, comment and let me know how you liked it! Also, be sure to try my family’s other favorite soup: Pasta e Fagioli.
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