Italian wedding soup is one of my favorites. There are endless variations on this soup, but the focus is on the bite-sized meatballs, and greens which include spinach or kale and dill. Although, the name may be misleading, and you may assume that this soup is served at Italian weddings, which sounds good to me, it actually is a mistranslation of minestra maritata, which translated means the “marriage” of the greens and meat in the soup.
This is a hearty soup that can be served up anytime of year. More importantly, it is healthy, easy to prepare, can be made to serve a crowd, which means it is perfect for freezing and enjoying later.
I would encourage you to use a homemade chicken stock as it really adds a level of depth that canned stock cannot match.
As a side note, for the first time, I purchased grass fed organic beef to prepare the meatballs. The beef is definitely leaner and has a slightly grassier flavor. I am immediately reminded that cows eat grass, not corn as used in commercial beef processing.
Italian Wedding SoupServes 6-8
For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground round
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
3-4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
For the Soup:
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
10-12 cups homemade stock or canned
3/4 cups small pasta (e.g. orzo)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
12 ounces fresh baby spinach
- Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Form into bite-sized meatballs. Bake on a cookie sheet for approximately 30 minutes at 350 Degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a 6-quart pot. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until vegetables are translucent. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add pasta and spinach. Cook until tender. Add meatballs to hot stock, bring to a simmer. Add dil. Simmer a few more minutes.