Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup - Guest Post


Another fantastic recipe from Carol! I also love soup and any recipe from Carol is always on my must make list.

Thank you Carol. I always appreciate when you share one of your wonderful recipes with us.

As I think I've mentioned in the past, Bob and I are BIG soup fans.  I love having a big container of homemade soup in the refrigerator every week.  Not only does it make a tummy-warming dinner with a batch of homemade rolls, it's great for both Bob and I to have a cup of for lunch. 

I'm always up for trying new soup recipes, but I still enjoy making some of my old faithful, tried-and-true treasures.

Bob loves the Italian Wedding Soup that they serve in the cafeteria at work. When he goes down to heat his lunch in the microwave and sees the soup listed on the menu board, he always treats himself to a cup. I'd love to know the origin of the title of this soup recipe. I'm from an Italian family and have gone to MANY Italian weddings, but I never remember having this at any of the wedding receptions.  As often as I've heard him rave about how much he enjoys kithis soup, when I found this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try.

I've made this soup using bone-in chicken breasts, boneless chicken breasts and leftover chicken.  That's one thing I love about it-it's super adaptable.  I'm not one to measure the amount of shredded chicken that goes in either.....I just use what I have either left from a roasting chicken or whatever size pieces of chicken I happen to thaw out.  You really can't go wrong...it's all welcome in the pot!

I've added more ingredients to the meatballs than originally called for. Meatballs aren't meatballs for me without some fresh garlic, finely minced, then "pasted" with the side of my chef's knife to make it smooth-that way there's no danger of biting into pieces of garlic in the meat mixture.  I also use seasoned bread crumbs rather than plain dry bread crumbs to add a little more flavor. I make the meatballs small-about 1/2" to 3/4"-they tend to puff up when cooked in the broth.

For me-the more vegetables the better when it comes to homemade soup, and I don't spare them here. Carrots, onion, garlic and celery aren't in the original recipe, but I include them in my version. 

I love using homemade stock, but on the days I've depleted my supply that I keep in the freezer, I reach for store bought fat free, low sodium chicken broth or stock which I always keep in the pantry.

I use fresh spinach when I have it here, but when I don't? A box of frozen spinach works just fine.

I sure am glad Bob told me how good it is and got my curiosity up about it. This soup is one big bowl of YUM!  The chicken and meatballs make this a nice hearty soup along with the multitude of vegetables and pasta.  A light grating of fresh Parmesan cheese over the top makes a fantastic finishing touch...it's not a necessity, but it sure does taste good.

If you're soup lovers like we are, I hope you'll give this recipe a try.  It's a great way to warm you up on a cold winter day.


(Source: adapted from The Best of Country Cooking 2007-recipe submitted by Sherri Perfett, Moon Township, PA. Original recipe found HERE)

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 heaping Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced, then "pasted"
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef

10 c. fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth or stock
2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves OR 2 bone-in chicken breast halves (8 oz. each), skin removed*
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 c. finely chopped celery
1 1/2 c. finely diced carrot
1 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced, then "pasted"
1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
4 oz. fresh spinach OR 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 heaping Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for sprinkling over top, optional

*NOTE: This soup is also good with leftover cooked chicken....I've used leftover roast chicken in it many times.  I don't measure how much-I just eyeball the amount.  Just skip the step of cooking the chicken in the broth and add the chicken at the end of the cooking time.

For the meatballs, in a large bowl  combine the egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Crumble the ground beef over the egg mixture and mix well.

Shape the beef mixture into 1/2-3/4-inch meatballs. I usually get about 35 meatballs out of the batch. Place the meatballs on a large plate, cover and place them in the refrigerator. 

For the soup, in a Dutch oven, bring the broth and chicken breasts to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken to a plate and set it aside.

If using leftover chicken in this. bring the 10 cups of broth to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat, then proceed with the recipe as written below.

Add the meatballs, celery, carrot, onion and garlic to the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink on the inside.  Skim any fat from the top of the soup.

Add the orzo, pepper and Italian seasoning. Return the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.

While the pasta is cooking, remove the meat from the bones (if using bone-in chicken breasts), discard the bones and shred the chicken.

When the pasta is cooked, add the chicken, spinach and Parmesan cheese to the soup and heat through. 10 servings (about 2 1/2 quarts).


  1. I agree Linda, Carol had quite a few must make recipes & I have. Today is cooler & our nutty weatherman has predicted 'winter weather' saying it could possibly snow(not). I love the fact that you add what you want to the recipe. I'd do the same thing & make it the way we like it. Thanks for another fab recipe

    1. You're welcome Cyndy-this is easy and tastes better the longer it sits-as most soups do. I have SO many recipes I still want to try but we've cut back so much on eating that food lasts FOREVER here.....sigh......

      Snow huh? Wouldn't THAT be somethin'?

  2. Cyndy YOU Can't be getting snow!!!!

    Hi Carol, hope you had a wonderful birthday yesterday. This soup sounds just like the escarole soup my aunt makes every year for Thanksgiving. She makes such a huge pot cause everyone wants leftovers to take home. Your recipe sounds so good. Who could not want a bowl of this soup on a cold day, or even a hot one. She doesn't add the pasta tho, and she makes her own croutons to put in which is a big hit. Thanks for sharing your recipe, it sounds great and you can make it your own by adding what you like. Yum !!!

    1. Hi Myra-I did have a nice quiet day yesterday, thanks. :)

      I crave soup during the winter so make a lot of it-as you can probably tell. No wonder your Aunt's soup is popular and people want some "to go"....it sounds delicious-especially with homemade croutons. Mmmmmmmm.......

  3. YUM!! Looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing on the Real Food Recipes roundup. I always find things I love there. If you get a minute to stop by my blog sometime, I'd love it! Hope you had a lovely holiday.

    1. Thanks Courtney- I hope you enjoy this if you give it a try. Happy New Year to you and your family. :)

  4. This sounds delicious. I love soups too and I am wanting to make a big pot but I am holding off until New Years because I plan on making blackeyed pea soup. I make it every year for luck...I will definitely try this one after this though. It has been very cold, below 0 and we have had about 6-8 inches of snow.

    1. Hi Paddi! You know, I've heard about the tradition of black-eye peas and greens is it? I've never made them....Bob can be a fuss budjit when it comes to legumes and greens....I have to pick and choose. I almost dropped over when he said he likes spinach in soup-he claims to dislike it immensely.....

      The cold weather has moved in here too-we had spring-like temperatures at Christmas which a lot of people hated because they wanted snow for Christmas day-sure made traveling to NH a lot easier with the roads clear. I know we'll be getting snow one of these days then will see it into April.....I'll enjoy looking at the grass while I can. Stay warm!

    2. I know a lot of people who don't like Blackeyed peas, I must have lived in the south in a former life because I love them and cheesy grits etc. Not okra though.....The traditions is blackeyed peas and Ham for luck and the greens added for money to come your way.... My daughters make this too. I added the spinach last year and a friend said it made the soup???? Really? He must not have liked it the other 15 times I made it without....LOL Happy Birthday belated!

  5. I love trying different soups and this one will be made soon. Today I am making Chili . After its gone I will make this one. Every time the door is opened a very cold breeze comes in. Soups seem to warm up the inside when its needed. Thank you Carol.

    1. I'm with you Dottiemaye-I LOVE making all kinds of new soups.......they all hit the spot. Chili sounds great-sure is a good time of year for it that's for sure. You're right about soup....it gives your tummy a nice warm hug from the inside out. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do. :)

  6. Though I've copied Carol's recipe awhile ago I still have to make it. With the horridly cold weather (-20F) soup would certainly be appreciated. Today is a slow day since this is the first day we've been home alone for the past week and I'm all cooked out! Truth be told, I am a procrastinator and any excuse works for me! 😜

    1. Hi Angela-I did some tweaking this time on the recipe and we liked it even better-nothing major but some more ingredients in the meatballs and more vegetables. BRRRRRRRRRR-you're definitely in the deep freeze huh? Good time to hibernate with a nice hot bowl of soup. I hear ya about being all cooked out. Christmas did that to me with baking cookies and such.....need a break with those and have been keeping the cooking pretty simple too. I'll get back into it one of these days.

  7. I love it when Carol post a recipe- SO many people get to see what a great cook and baker she is- Thank you again girlfriend and you are welcomed with open arms to come back again and again-

    1. Thanks so much Linda---I always have fun guest posting. I hope to get back into "new recipe mode" again soon....if I hit upon a home run, I'll let ya know! :)