Italian Wedding Soup
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
This is another one of my #CookingUnderQuarantine recipes I made for my family last night. Its super comforting and pretty simple to make. I put my own twist on the classic soup. Instead of simmering the meatballs in the broth, I brown them in a skillet first to build more flavor. It may not be traditional, but its how I roll. You can skip this step, but you'll be cutting yourself short on extra flavor so I suggest taking the time to do this!
Italian Wedding Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8
Swap Option: Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef
Why I Love This Recipe: Its easy to feed a large crowd in a short amount of time. Plus its even better the next day for leftovers!
For the Meatballs:
Olive oil for sautéing
Ground Beef (80/20 or 90/10 blend) - 1 1/2 pounds
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg
3 tablespoons pecorino cheese, grated
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
2 Quarts Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Cups Water
3/4 - 1 cup small noodles, such as ditalini
One 5 oz container baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan for serving
1. To make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, parsley, both cheeses, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently combine all ingredients until well combined, being sure not to over-mix.
2. Using a cooking scoop or your hands, portion meat into 1-1 1/2 tablespoon sized balls and place on a baking sheet.
3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add in 1/4 of the meatballs and brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. They will not be cooked thru at this point, just browned. Remove meatballs from the skillet and place baking on baking sheet with the other meatballs*. Repeat process with remaining meatballs. Set skillet aside, do not rinse. The bits on the bottom of the skillet will be deglazed later and added to the soup.
*Its ok to place the partially cooked meatballs with the raw meat because they will finishing cooking in the soup therefore eliminaitng any possibility of cross-contamination.
4. To make the soup: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large dutch oven, over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onions and bay leaf to the pot. Cook until softened but not browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add garlic and a pinch of nutmeg to the softened vegetables. Cook till garlic is fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Add in chicken stock, water and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
7. Using about one ladle full of the simmering broth, add to warm skillet where the meatballs have been previously cooked. Use the hot broth to scrape up the browned bits in the skillet. Add this liquid from the skillet to the pot of simmering soup.
8. Add seared meatballs into the pot. Simmer soup till flavors have had a chance to meld and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
9. Add in pasta and baby spinach. Cook additional 10 minutes, till noodles are tender and spinach is wilted. Taste for seasoning, add additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves and parmesan rind. Serve with extra grated cheese and a squeeze of lemon if desired.