A simple recipe for Italian Wedding Soup with small tender Italian sausage meatballs, vegetables, and tiny pasta in a rich, flavorful chicken broth!
Italian Wedding Soup
This is my favorite way to make Italian Wedding Soup. I’ve done it for several years now and made some changes here and there. All of which we love!
What is Italian Wedding Soup
Wedding soup is just the Italian phrase “minestra maritata” translated as “married soup”. Referencing the flavor combination of meat and greens.
Substitutions to Italian Wedding Soup
- I’ve used chicken bone broth or stock. The bone broth adds a deeper flavor but you need to taste before adding any salt.
- Traditionally the meatballs are made with ground beef and ground pork. I love the extra boost of flavor that Italian sausage adds to the soup.
- I’ve tried it with kale and spinach (I like both equally) but I’ve not tried the traditional escarole.
- I also like to stir in a couple of beaten eggs at the end on occasion.
- The classic pasta used is acini di pepe (acini de pepe to some) but I’ve also used ditalini and orzo.
Traditionally it’s made with a long cook chicken stock. I tend to stick with store-bought stock and broths mainly because I don’t add shredded chicken to this soup.
Ingredients Needed for Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
For the Meatballs
- Italian sausage (sweet or mild)
- Pecorino Romano cheese (or parmesan cheese)
- Italian bread crumbs
- Italian parsley
For the Soup
- Unsalted butter
- Chicken stock (or broth)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Acini di pepe (or other small pasta)
- Fresh spinach (or kale)
How to Make Simple Italian Wedding Soup
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl add the Italian sausage, Pecorino Romano, bread crumbs, fresh parsley, and egg. Mix gently just until combined. Do not overwork the mixture. You want tender meatballs!
Shape into 1/2 inch balls. Place them on the sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes or so. This helps the meatballs keep their shape during cooking.
I do this ahead of time. I freeze them in a zip lock freezer bag so I can make this soup any time I have a craving. This saves the most time-consuming part of the recipe.
In a large dutch oven or soup pot melt the butter over medium-high heat, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. This will depend on the stock or broth you are using. You can use low-sodium stock and adjust the salt to your taste.
Add the meatballs, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the pasta and simmer for an additional 6 to 8 minutes until the pasta is tender. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions al dente.
Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted.
Serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese.
For soups that contain pasta, I like to cook it separately and add the pasta to each serving individually. When you have a leftover soup that contains pasta, the pasta tends to soak up a lot of the broth. So, if you know that the entire pot of soup won’t be consumed immediately I recommend my method.
Can You Freeze Italian Wedding Soup
Yes! When reheating you will add a little more chicken stock to bring it back to your desired consistency. You will need to do the same for reheating leftovers. This is why I usually cook the pasta separately.
More Soup Recipes
- Sicilian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Root Vegetable Soup
- Easy Ham and Potato Soup
- Vegetable Dumpling Soup
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 lb Italian sausage sweet or mild
- 3 tbsp Pecorino Romano or parmesan
- 2 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp Fresh Italian parsley minced
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1 small Onion diced small
- 2 large Carrots diced small
- 2 ribs Celery diced small
- 1/2 tsp Garlic minced
- 10 cups Chicken stock or broth
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 5 oz Baby spinach stemmed, rough chopped
- 3/4 cup Acini di pepe or other small pasta
- Pecorino Romano grated – additional for topping the soup
- In a large bowl add the Italian sausage, Pecorino Romano, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and egg. Mix gently just until combined. Do not overwork the mixture. You want tender meatballs!
- Shape into 1/2 inch balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least one hour.
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot melt the butter over medium-high heat, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Add the meatballs, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the pasta and simmer for an additional 6 to 8 minutes until the pasta is tender. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions al dente.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted.
- Serve with additional Pecorino Romano grated over the top!