Italian wedding soup

Italian wedding soupI love this Italian wedding soup and I love Barefoot for supplying me with this recipe. I’ve seriously never had a bad recipe with Barefoot, honestly, every recipe that I’ve tried from her turns out great. Maybe we’re kindred spirits or something, but I get her cooking, and I like it.  I have her new book, Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, on my Christmas wish list, and I’m hoping that Santa delivers me a copy.  

I saw Ina make this soup on her show, and she made it look so easy, (like she always does) that she inspired me to go and make a batch the next day.  I’m so happy that I did because this soup is my new go-to chicken noodle soup.  I’ve never been a huge chicken noodle soup fan because either the noodles were too soggy or there were dark stringy meat chunks in the soup. I ate it when I was feeling under the weather, but I’ll be frank, it was not my go-to soup of choice.  

This is actually the perfect soup to serve up after a long day of skiing, (Carolyn, I can totally see you making this) or a long day at the office. It’s just a comforting and hearty soup. This soup can feed a crowd or serve a family of four for 2 nights.  With all that being said, I’m not going to lie, this recipe has a lot of components, and it’s not something that you can just whip together last minute at the end of a long day.  But, with all that being said, it’s worth it.  The meatballs are the only part that takes some time. You can even make it easy on yourself and make the meatballs earlier in the day or even the day before. I think this would be an easy Monday night meal to throw together if you had pre-made the meatballs on Sunday afternoon. All you would have to do on Monday night is make the actual soup, which is super easy, and then throw in the meatballs.  You might have to let the soup simmer a bit longer so that the meatballs warm up. I also think this is a great soup to serve up for Sunday night dinner and then be re-heated and served up on a busy Tuesday night.  Don’t fret about your kids and the spinach, Eli and Zoe loved it in the soup, and Eli asked for seconds of the “green stuff.”Italian wedding soup

Italian wedding soup:

recipe from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
serves 8

Meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound ground chicken 
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed – Use un-cooked chicken sausages, not cooked ones.  Go to your meat counter or butcher for this.  They will even remove the casings for you, if you ask.
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves – I used italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons milk - I used 1%
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for taste

Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (2-3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups (80 ounces) chicken stock – if you have homemade stock, great!  I did not, so I used 2.5 32 oz boxes of organic chicken stock.  
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta such as Fregola Sarda, tubetini or stars – I used Fregola Sarda pasta as I wanted a chewier and firmer pasta.
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 10-12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed – I just used two 5oz (10oz total) containers of pre-washed spinach.
Below is the pasta I used for the soup. I liked that it had a firmer and chewier texture than a normal pasta.
I also made it easy and used 2 packages of this pre-rinsed spinach for the soup.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Let’s prep your ingredients for the meatballs. Mince your garlic, lightly beat the egg, wash and chop up your parsley, measure out your breadcrumbs, milk and cheeses.

Place the following ingredients together in a medium bowl.

    • ground chicken
    • chicken sausage
    • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
    • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 1 lightly beaten egg
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Gently combine the ingredients together with a fork.

Now, it’s time to make the meatballs. This recipe makes 40 1 to 1/4-inch meatballs (about the size of a large gum ball or jawbreaker). I couldn’t fit all 40 on one baking sheet so I used another smaller one. If you arrange it and are more organized than me, you may be able to fit all 40 on one sheet. Line a large (and small, if you need it) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Make your 40 meatballs and place them on the baking sheet. The meatballs don’t have to be perfectly round and you can put them close together because they don’t spread.
Note: The first time I made these I could only get 30 meatballs out of the mixture.  I made them smaller the next time and got my 40.  No worries if you only get 30 meatballs.  It will still be plenty.  
Bake for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and are lightly browned.  It took my meatballs 30 minutes to cook. You can also use a meat thermometer to test if your meatballs are done.  I usually do that because I’m afraid of undercooked meat. Set the meatballs aside.
While your meatballs are cooking, prep the ingredients for the soup.  Wash and chop up your yellow onion, carrots, celery and dill.  Measure out the 1/2 cup of wine, 1 cup pasta and the 10 cups of chicken stock.
In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté till softened, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the 10 cups chicken stock and the wine and bring to a boil.  I turned up the heat to medium-high to help the soup to boil faster.
Add the 1-cup pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes for orzo or standard white pasta, and 8-10 minutes for the fregola pasta.  You only want to cook the pasta till its tender, as the pasta will absorb the broth and continue to get tender as it sits in the soup.
Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute.  Taste the soup and add any additional  salt or pepper that you wish.  I added a pinch or two of salt, but didn’t feel the need to add pepper.
Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.  It will seem like you’re adding tons of spinach, but don’t worry, it all cooks down.
Ladle the soup into some bowls.  This soup pairs nicely with warm popovers, a crusty french bread or we even like it with  those breadsticks from Trader Joes.
This is a delicious and kid approved two-nighter meal!
Note: The pasta will absorb some of the soup stock as it sits.  To solve this, just add a bit more stock when you’re reheating the soup. 
I’ve even made the meatballs sans the soup and we served them over plain spaghetti noodles with some olive oil and parmesan.  How’s that for an easy weeknight meal?Italian wedding soup
When I’m too lazy to make meatballs, I often make up this simple weeknight chicken soup.  It’s another family favorite.
simple weeknight chicken soup
Italian wedding soup

Italian wedding soup

Ingredients

    meatballs:
  • 3/4 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed - you want to use un-cooked chicken sausages, not the cooked ones. Go to your meat counter or butcher for this. They will even remove the casings for you if you ask.
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves - I used Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons milk - I used 1%
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • soup:
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups (80 ounces) chicken stock - if you have homemade stock, great! I did not, so I used 2.5 32 oz boxes of organic chicken stock.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta such as Fregola Sarda, tubetini or stars - I used Fregola Sarda pasta as I wanted a chewier and firmer pasta.
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 10-12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed - I just used two 5oz (10oz total) containers of pre-washed spinach.

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Let's prep your ingredients for the meatballs.Mince your garlic, lightly beat the egg, wash and chop up your parsley, measure out your breadcrumbs, milk and cheeses.

Place the following ingredients together in a medium bowl, ground chicken, chicken sausage, 2/3 cup bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 3 tablespoons chopped parsley,1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 lightly beaten egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Gently combine the ingredients together with a fork.

Now, it's time to make the meatballs. This recipe makes 40 1 to 1/4 inch meatballs (about the size of a large gum ball or jawbreaker). I couldn't fit all 40 on one baking sheet so I used another smaller one. If you arrange it and are more organized than me, you may be able to fit all 40 on one sheet. Line a large (and small, if you need it) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Make your 40 meatballs and place them on the baking sheet. The meatballs don't have to be perfectly round and you can put them close together because they don't spread.

Note: The first time I made these I could only get 30 meatballs out of the mixture. I made them smaller the next time and got my 40. No worries if you only get 30 meatballs. It will still be plenty.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and are lightly browned. It took my meatballs 30 minutes to cook. You can also use a meat thermometer to test if your meatballs are done. I usually do that because I'm afraid of undercooked meat. Set the meatballs aside.

While your meatballs are cooking, prep the ingredients for the soup.

Wash and chop up your yellow onion, carrots, celery and dill. Measure out the ½ cup wine, the 1 cup of pasta and the10 cups of chicken stock.

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and and sauté till softened, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the 10 cups chicken stock and the wine and bring to a boil. I turned up the heat to medium-high to help the soup to boil faster.

Add the 1-cup pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes for orzo or standard white pasta, and 8-10 minutes for the fregola pasta. You only want to cook the pasta till its tender, as the pasta will absorb the broth and continue to get tender as it sits in the soup.

Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste the soup and add any additional salt or pepper that you wish. I added a pinch or two of salt, but didn't feel the need to add pepper.

Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. It will seem like you're adding tons of spinach, but don't worry, it all cooks down.

Ladle the soup into some bowls and top with some fresh parmesan if you wish.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/12/italian-wedding-soup/
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{ 35 comments… add one }

  • Gina Marie @ So Let's Hang Out December 5, 2012, 7:17 pm

    I am legitimately ogling this soup.Looks like we are both on the same page today. It is soup weather for sure!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 5, 2012, 7:50 pm

      I know, I just saw your soup and I said the same thing! Fifty degrees = soup and slippers!

      Reply
  • Averie @ Averie Cooks December 5, 2012, 10:56 pm

    despite it being super hot here, boy, does that soup look awesome! love the vibrant pops of green to break it up!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 6, 2012, 3:14 am

      Thanks Averie. It was so cold and gloomy here today that I wish I was where you were right about now!

      Reply
  • Sue/the view from great island December 6, 2012, 12:58 am

    It’s 5 o ‘clock and I have no idea what’s for dinner, and I want a bowl of this soup! Those meatballs and the greens look soooo good. I love the new wordpress format, and I think it was definitely worth it to get the printable recipes, I’m slowly getting around to it myself, I may have to pepper you with questions!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 6, 2012, 3:18 am

      Ha Ha Sue! Yes, please ask away. Word press takes a lot of getting use to and it’s not as user friendly as blogger. I’m slowly starting to enjoy it though!

      Reply
  • Sharon B. December 6, 2012, 3:45 pm

    I think we’re kindred spirits! I feel the same way about chicken noodle soup – I love soup but it’s not my go to either. There are so many more I would make before that. I’ll eat it, but I don’t crave it. And I love Ina Garten’s recipes! She’s one of my favorite chefs on the Food Network. Her recipes always turn out great. I’ve also been thinking of switching to Wordpress for a few months, but it is daunting to me so I’m taking my sweet time (dragging my heels is more like it!). You’ll have to let me know how you are liking it. Have a great day Jackie! Sharon

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 7, 2012, 12:34 am

      Hi Sharon! It’s nice to meet someone who feels the same way about traditional chicken noodle soup. I’m actually making a batch of my favorite soup (heirloom tomato soup) right now. I found some organic heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods today, and couldn’t help myself! I think why I like Ina so much is that she’s real and down to earth. She isn’t trying to be anyone she’s not, and I like that about her.

      I’m liking word press but I caution people against switching because it’s a lot of work and word press is not as user friendly as blogger was. The only reason I haven’t pulled out my hair is because my friend Wendy has helped me with EVERYTHING! She’s been amazing and such a help!

      Reply
  • Marina@Picnic at Marina December 7, 2012, 1:41 am

    Jackie, with the cold weather on the horizon this soup is a must! We love this soup and make it quite often. Beautiful presentation.

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 7, 2012, 11:52 pm

      Thanks Marina.

      Reply
  • Carolyn December 7, 2012, 3:52 am

    Looks like the perfect dish after a cold day on the mountain. I’ll be sure to try it out soon…Alpine opens tomorrow!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 7, 2012, 11:52 pm

      I so envy you right now! I saw that beautiful shot you took from the top of the mountain today!

      Reply
  • l o v e l y t h i n g s December 7, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Jackie,
    Woke up thinking I would make this tonight for dinner…it’s definitely soup weather, but then I got a glimpse of that baked pasta from your weekly dinner menu..perfect for a Friday night. Your soup and all those colorful ingredients looks healthy and delicious. I always love your “ingredient” shots…amazing!
    xo
    annie

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 7, 2012, 11:50 pm

      Thanks so much Annie. I’m sure its soup weather back east, but if you were still in Southern CA it might not be so much. Hope you like the pasta!

      Reply
  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife December 7, 2012, 5:33 pm

    I saw Ina on her Foolproof tour in Milwaukee and received a copy of the book as a part of this lovely event. It is so worth buying! I’ve already made two recipes from it, and both have been fantastic. I hope you get your Christmas wish!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy December 7, 2012, 11:48 pm

      Hi Erin! You lucky gal! I would love to meet her in person. Maybe, someday, you never know. She just did this promo thing with some food bloggers, I wish I was one of them. Anyway, glad you love and recommend the book! Fingers crossed that Santa comes through!

      Reply
  • Cheryl December 9, 2012, 5:43 am

    Hi – I found you on Twitter through Foodies Like Us and I’m so glad I clicked through! Hubby and I made this the other night using chicken and it was absolutely Ah-mazing. We used kale instead of spinach and it was still wonderful! I love how you break the recipes down step by step with pictures as I’m a visual cook. Looking forward to trying many more of your creations!

    Reply
    • Jackie @ Marin mama cooks December 9, 2012, 3:09 pm

      Hi Cheryl! I’m so glad you found my blog and made this recipe. The meatballs are really great, especially when they get all browned. My family kept grabbing them up as they were cooling down. I thought about adding kale and might do so next time, great idea.
      I’m glad you like the step-by-step photos. I’m a visual cook as well, and need to see some sort of photo of the finished product before I make it. It just helps ensure that I’m doing everything correctly. Have a great day and let me know what you make next :)

      Reply
  • angela@anotherbiteplease January 6, 2013, 2:25 am

    Jackie I made this a few weeks ago and it was so good!!! this is now on my list of favorite soups!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy January 24, 2013, 6:23 pm

      Awesome Angela! I love when that happens :)

      Reply
  • Carolyn January 24, 2013, 4:30 pm

    I have this cookbook and have looked at this recipe. I’ve never made it, for some reason it didn’t appeal to me. Now that you’ve made it and had requests for seconds from your kids I’m going to make this! I love that you thought of me:) it certainly would be a great dinner after a long cold day of skiing! Again, your photos look amazing. I don’t think I’ll be able to find the fresh chicken sausages here so next time I’m in Reno I’ll make a stop at Whole Foods to pick some up. Have you ever tried the roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette (page 88) from that same cookbook? If not, you should-it’s awesome. Happy cooking!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy January 24, 2013, 6:29 pm

      I actually borrowed this cookbook from the library and copied this recipe because I wanted to try it. I also saw Ina make it on her show, and of course, she tempted me that way as well. I’m just not a chicken noodle fan and this looked like the next best thing. This is Eli’s favorite soup ever, so that’s saying a lot, and when John’s dad was here and ate it, you didn’t hear a peep from him till he was finished. LOVE IT! Of course I think of you when it comes to soups and stews because you’re the mountain cooking mama! I still think you need to do a blog at some point called Mountain mama cooks :)
      Thanks for the sweet compliment on the photos. This soup was easy to photograph because of all the beautiful colors. I have not tried the roasted butternut squash salad, but next time I check out the book, I will take a look at it. I hope you’re staying warm and getting lots of ski time in :)

      Reply
  • KELLY PIENINCK March 1, 2013, 2:14 am

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing!! Thanks

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy March 1, 2013, 2:02 pm

      Hi Kelly! I’m so glad you liked the soup! Thanks for letting me know :)

      Reply
  • Reiko Yamasaki March 5, 2013, 7:52 pm

    I made this soup for the family! They absolutely love it, my two year old and four year old gobbled it all up!

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy March 6, 2013, 12:14 am

      Hi Reiko! I’m so happy to hear that your family loved this soup and super excited that it appealed to your 2 & 4 year old as well! It’s really makes you happy as a mom when you take the time to make something nutritious and then to have your family rave about it, there’s nothing better to me anyway. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know. xoxo, Jackie :)

      Reply
  • Stacey September 16, 2013, 11:06 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of ground beef, no matter how it’s cooked. One reason is because of the chewy hard balls in the meat. Does the ground chicken have these chewy things in them? Thanks.

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy September 17, 2013, 12:37 am

      Hi Stacey. I totally know what you mean about those hard balls, yuck! I honestly don’t taste them in these meatballs, but it also depends on where you get the chicken meat. Different stores carry different brands or should I say different cuts of chicken. Some may have those little balls. You can always ask the butcher where you get your meat, he will know. :)

      Reply
  • Stacey September 25, 2013, 8:27 pm

    I just made this soup and it turned out scrumptious. My grocer did not have fresh chicken sausage, so I comprompised and bought pre-cooked smoked chicken sausage and ground it up in my food processor. The meatballs held together perfectly and they were so tender and flavorful. Thanks for this great recipe.

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy September 25, 2013, 8:45 pm

      Yaay Stacey! I’m so happy that the soup turned out a winner for you! It’s also nice for readers to see that they can substitute pre-cooked sausage for fresh, so thanks for commenting. Barefoot has the best recipes and they always turn out perfect, that’s why I have a lot of her recipes on the blog! :) xoxo, Jackie

      Reply
  • Linda Thompson November 12, 2013, 2:09 am

    Made this tonight and it was delicious. My hubby ate 3 bowls!! I couldn’t find grnd chicken or chicken sausage. But, I did find and used grnd turkey and turkey breakfast sausage. Also, in our garden we have lots of kale so I used that instead of spinach. I served crusty bread with it. I will be making this one again.

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy November 12, 2013, 4:54 am

      Hi Linda! Yippee! I’m glad this soup is hubby approved and that it was devoured. I’m also happy to hear that you found some delicious substitutions. I think I might have to try kale next since I always have tons of kale around the house! :) xoxo, Jackie

      Reply
  • Donna February 7, 2014, 12:57 am

    Hi Jackie,
    Well, this recipe is calling my name. This is the next recipe of yours that I am going to make. Hubby is a little under the weather and I think this soup will help! Thanks.
    On a different note, I have been fighting with myself NOT to make another batch of your chocolate chip cookies. We have had snow here on Long Island three times this week. Makes me want to stay home and bake cookies. Instead I’ve been going to spin class at my local gym. Looking forward to the warmer weather. Hope you’re doing well.

    Reply
    • jackiegrandy February 7, 2014, 3:21 am

      Hi Donna! I’m so sorry to hear that your hubby is under the weather, no fun. I’ve been fighting off a cold these past few days, but luckily I’m feeling better! We LOVE this soup, even though it can be a bit labor intensive with the meatballs, it’s so worth it. So funny that you’re craving those chocolae chip cookies. I’m actually making up a batch for a party tomorow night and I’m going to make sure I sneak in one fresh from the oven before I bring them to the party :) Good for you for working out instead of cooking baking. I work out just so I can eat what I want ;) Have a great night girl and I hope you and your hubby love the soup! xoxo, Jackie

      Reply
  • Easy Italian Recipes March 6, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Hi! Your Italian wedding soup has been nominated as one of the “Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipes on the Net”. To vote for it, please visit http://easyitalianrecipes.org/soup-recipes/best-italian-wedding-soup-recipes-on-the-net-vote-for-your-favorite/ (your recipe is positioned at #100).

    Reply

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