Monday, March 19, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

What better way to start a food blog than a simple, nice, warm, hearty soup. 
Italian Wedding Soup is one of my favorite soups. I discovered it fairly recently, only a couple of years ago, and have only eaten it a handful of times. I enjoy the blend of hearty meat, creamy pasta, salty cheese, and fresh greens. It is also a great soup because you can add your own spin on it, to taste. For instance, I've had Italian Wedding Soup with cheese tortellini instead of regular pasta, or long-cooked homemade lamb broth instead of chicken broth. All versions were and are delicious! 

I decided to make this soup with my good friend, Swilson, on a cold and rainy day. We were hungry, and flipping through some Ina Garten Cook Books, when we came across her recipe for "Italian Wedding Soup." It sounded perfect, and so we headed to the store and got all the ingredients. We were lazy, and opted out of making our own meatballs, and instead got pre-made ones. I also added my own spin to things, adding some herbs Ina left out, made the vegetable slices larger, and added extra oil and wine to the pot. We bought large meatballs, and cut them into fourths. This soup is also budget-friendly! We had exactly $15 to use, and we came out to $14.92! The recipe is large, and there is enough to save and have the next night!

....sweated down vegetables!

Overall, I really enjoyed the soup! It was hearty and warm - perfect for the rainy weather outside. There are some things I would change next time though:
-I would cook the pasta in the broth, then remove it, drain, and keep in a separate container. When serving, I would add the pasta back into the individual bowls. Keeping it in the main pot as Ina suggested, caused it to become overcooked and mushy. Blech. 
-Do the same with the meatballs! The flavor overwhelmed the rest of the soup, and it was difficult to taste anything other than MEATBALL! I would cook them, then take them out, and add when wanting to serve. 
-I want to try and make my own meatballs next time. Ina's chicken sausage recipe sounded delicious! I bet they would be less spicy as well.

Suddenly, the brown soup has a pop of color! Thanks, spinach!
I give myself props for giving the broth extra flavor by adding in:
1 bay leaf, a pinch of red pepper flakes, extra white wine, salt, and pepper. 
The longer the soup sat, the more delicious it became! 

Once you put the soup together by adding the spinach in and grating some Parmesan cheese on top right before consuming....oh man, it's some good stuff! 
Try making it yourself, and tell me how you like it!

Time to dig in! ;)

In case you were wondering, here is Ina Garten's recipe for the soup! (Not including the meatballs)

For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.


  1. YUMMY! That looks so tasty and delicious, especially for these rainy California days :D.

  2. yum, italian wedding soup is one of my absolute favorites + i think this is the same recipe that i use, too. =) you should definitely try the homemade meatballs next time - they're awesome!

  3. This looks really good! I might make this and leave out the meatballs! :)

    1. JS: You can probably use veggie meatballs! ;)