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Italian Wedding Soup

The name of this soup is actually a misnomer. It originated here in the States within the Italian-American community.  The old folks called it “minestra maritata” in Italian, which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together, as in a marriage.  Hence, the source for the “mistranslation” to Italian Wedding Soup.  So, it has nothing to do with what might be served at a wedding, however, it is still a delicious, light, but hearty soup.

Italian Wedding Soup


For the meatballs:

1 lb. ground chicken

½ lb. sweet Italian sausage

½ c. dry bread crumbs

2 tsp. minced garlic

3 T chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 T milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

For the soup:

2 T olive oil

1 yellow onion, minced (1 cup)

3 carrots, diced (1 cup)

2 stalks celery, diced (3/4 cup)

8 cups chicken stock

½ cup white wine

2 cups water

1 cup tiny pasta

2 T minced fresh tarragon (optional)

12 oz. kale, escarole, chard, collar greens or baby spinach

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the meatballs by gently combining all the ingredients.  Using a small scoop, make about 40 – 1¼” meatballs and place on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned.

While the meatballs are baking, make the soup base. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and when shimmering, add the onions, carrots and celery.  Saute until softened – about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chicken stock, wine and water and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and tarragon (if using) and simmer about 5-6 minutes.  Add the meatballs and fresh greens.  Continue simmering until greens have softened.  Add salt & pepper, to taste.  Spoon into soup bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

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