Italian Wedding Soup was a big part of growing up in our large extended Italian family. My grandmother would make a huge pot of this soup for every major Holiday. It was served as a first course, and I loved it. It was my favorite. I think we called it the "little meatball" soup though. Now with a family of my own, I continue to make this soup and serve it with the fond memories of my childhood. This is a great soup (memories or not, Italian or not) because it is healthful and appeals to many ages with the fun mini meatballs and little star pasta.
Italian Wedding Soup
serves 6 to 8
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4-6 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch escarole
2 quarts chicken broth
2/3 cup Pastina, or other small pasta like orzo
1/4 pecorino romano cheese
for the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef or pork (of a mixture)
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 slice of sandwich bread, lightly dipped in a bowl of water to moisten
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
a pinch of kosher salt
Make the meatballs.
In a bowl, combine ground meat.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Use your hands to mix everything together. Pull out any large chunks of bread. Do NOT overmix - just lightly fold over with your hands until everything is combined.
To make your meatballs all the same size, use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon. Scoop out 1 teaspoon of mixture, and place in the palm of your hand and roll until round. Continue until meat is gone.
You should have about 75 little meatballs. Place them in the fridge to firm up while you start the soup.
Peel and dice the carrots and onion. Mince the garlic.
Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and carrots, onion and garlic. Saute for about 5-7 minutes.
Wash and trim outer leaves from escarole. Chop escarole into smaller pieces.
Add the escarole to the soup. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Once boiled, add the meatballs and continue to cook over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.
Now you can add the pasta, just make sure it is a small pasta like pastina (little stars) or orzo - my grandmother always cooked her pasta in a separate pan to avoid overstarching the soup. I tend to be lazy here and just add mine to the soup pan. It is your preference. Continue cooking soup with pasta for another 8 minutes. Add about 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese to the soup to finish it off, and serve while hot.
This soup is hearty and will warm you right up on a cold day.
My boys love the little meatballs.
This is a great soup to entertain with. I loved sharing this meal with my brother Joe, my sister in law Lacie and my cute little nephew Silas.
Silas' first bite of Italian Wedding Soup.
He loved it and couldn't get enough! It made me so happy to enjoy this memorable soup with people I love.
Enjoy making this soup for your family!