Wedding Soup is a delicious combination of meatballs, pasta, chicken broth and vegetables that comes together for a hearty, comforting meal-in-a-bowl. Its origin is not actually weddings, but it is popular at Italian-American weddings. Whoever invented it, thank you! I love it – especially with the added lemon zest – which brightens it up while still maintaining that yummy comfort food taste and feel.
There are tons of recipes for wedding soup out there, all pretty similar. This one (a combination of many, as usual) works well. You can still adjust the ingredients and amounts to your taste and dietary preferences. And if you have a favourite meatball recipe, go ahead and use that. Serve with some hot crusty bread.
Shortcuts and Tips
- If you’re making meatballs for something else such as spaghetti and meat sauce, make some extra and freeze them (flash freeze on a baking sheet, then pile them into a sealed freezer bag, ready to use as needed)
- To save a couple of steps, you can drop the meatballs and pasta directly into the boiling broth without cooking them separately ahead of time. Just cook them in the broth on medium-high for about 8-10 minutes. I prefer baking the meatballs first to let the fat release onto the pan instead of the soup. And, cooking the pasta separately will reduce the starchiness in the soup. If I’m in a rush, though, I just drop both in and the soup is still delicious – and a bit more meat-flavoured. Either way, the soup can be made in about 30 minutes as you can do a few steps simultaneously.
- If you don’t have fresh spinach on hand, you can use frozen spinach, thawed and drained to yield about 1 cup.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use kale instead of spinach or escarole.
- Leave out the Parmesan cheese if desired.
- Use a different meatball recipe. Meatballs can be chicken, pork or beef – or any combination.
- Fry the meatballs in a pan on the stove instead of baking them.
- Use other tiny pasta instead of orzo.
- Add into the soup: chopped basil leaves; a cup of canned tomatoes, drained and chopped; chopped green onion; and/or finely diced celery.