This Italian wedding soup is truly a marriage of flavours and made quicker using a clever shortcut! This soup chock full of delicious meatballs, vegetables and star shaped pasta will leave you spellbound.
Can’t get enough of meatballs? Take a look at my recipe for Baked Meatballs with Mozzarella and Arugula.
Italian Wedding Soup Story
I still remember the day I was introduced to this famous soup. I was on a date with my then boyfriend, now husband at an Italian restaurant and he ordered it as a appetiser. I thought it was pretty hefty for a starter but you don’t doubt the appetite of a 20 year old guy!
Years later we developed quite a connection with Italy through travel and work, and not once did I see this soup on a menu in real Italian restaurants. What is the deal with that? Is it Italian or not? I asked my Italian friend and she never heard of it either.
I did some digging and found that, as many Italian American dishes, Italian Wedding Soup had its roots in Italy but over time morphed into something completely different, unique but nonetheless delicious!
What ingredients are in the soup?
I think to qualify for the name, the soup has to have meatballs, small shaped pasta and greens like spinach, escarole or kale.
The most traditional pasta used in this soup is acini de pepe but any small pasta will do. I used star shaped Stelline, which made my soup dreamy! Don’t you agree?
Is it really served at weddings?
No, Italian Wedding Soup is not traditionally served at weddings. The original name minestra maritata got mistranslated and simply means “marriage of flavours”. How very romantic!
Traditionally this soup was made with a variety of pork products and different vegetables all cooked separately, which produced different flavoured borths. When combined in one soup pot they created a beautiful union of flavours!
How do you make easy Italian Wedding Soup?
The most time consuming part of this soup is undoubtedly meatballs. So I decided to use a shortcut in the form Italian flavoured sausage, chicken sausage to be exact.
- I removed the casing, cut sausages into bite-sized pieces and rolled them into meatballs! You can even skip the last step and simply use sausage pieces.
- The rest is incredibly fast and easy. I seared the meatballs for extra flavour. They also look so much more appealing in the soup when golden!
- Then dropped the vegetables in the pot and sautéed them. In went the chicken stock, pasta and spinach. You can use kale instead. Job done!
How to add more flavour to the broth
First of all, the quality of your stock is the most important thing in the soup. So either make your own or buy the best quality you can afford.
Secondly, if you have a small Parmesan rind piece kicking around in your fridge, drop it in the broth in the beginning stage of cooking. You will be amazed at how much it will enhance the flavour of the soup!
Also adding a mix of fresh and dried herbs will elevate the flavours even further. For this soup I used fresh chopped parsley and dried basil and oregano with a touch of garlic.
How long does it keep?
This soup will keep well for up to 5 days in a refrigerator. It will get thicker as pasta will release its starch, so don’t be afraid to add a splash of water or stock when reheating it.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
What can I serve with Italian Wedding Soup?
I serve this soup with a bit of shaved or grated Parmesan cheese on top and black pepper. Some crusty bread or delicious rolls would complement it nicely.
More favourite soup recipes:
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 350g/12oz italian sausages, casing removed I used chicken sausage
- 1 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- ½ onion
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning or dried basil and oregano combined
- 2litres/8 cups chicken stock
- 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 50g/1/2 cup small pasta such as star pasta (stelline), acini de pepe or orzo
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 30g/1cup fresh spinach frozen can be used
- salt to taste
- Remove casing from sausages and cut them into 1 inch pieces, then roll each piece into a meatball. Sear the meatballs in a large soup pot in 1 tbsp of olive oil on high heat for approximately 5 minutes until golden all around but not cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate. Discard the fat but 1 tbsp.
- To the same pot add chopped onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes over low heat, then add pressed garlic clove and Italian seasoning and cook for 30 seconds longer. Pour in the chicken stock, Parmesan cheese rind if using, return the meatballs back to the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Then add the pasta, stir and cook the pasta according to package directions for 5-7 minutes. Add the fresh spinach and chopped parsley, let the soup simmer for 2 minutes, then take off the heat. Discard the Parmesan rind and serve with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese.