Italian Wedding Soup – an American-Italian soup with spinach and orzo and delicious easy to make meatballs. So simple, quick and always delicious!
One might think that the name of this soup implies that it’s served at Italian weddings, but actually it has nothing to do with weddings. It’s said to get its name from the marriage of ingredients, the meat, greens and noodles, because together they are a marriage made in heaven.
I was introduced to Italian Wedding Soup years ago, and yes it was at an Italian Wedding. I know, after I told you it has nothing to do with weddings, but I think because of its name people have started serving it at weddings. Nonetheless, Italian wedding soup is one of my favorites because it’s so easy to make and chances are that normally you would already have all the ingredients necessary. Now this soup, I must say I learned to make on my own, we Romanians we have our own meatball soup but this Italian wedding soup is a bit different because it has spinach in it, and sometimes people also use endive. Anyway, this soup is excellent on a cold day but I make it year round. Personally I don’t need soup weather to eat soup.
The meatballs are pretty easy to make and you can use any ground meat you like, normally I like to mix ground pork and ground beef but this time I only used extra lean ground beef.
I also added carrots to it this time, but it’s an optional ingredient. Most of the time the soup is just a clear soup with spinach or endive, meatballs and orzo pasta or acini de pepe which means “grains of pepper” in Italian, but it’s really tiny little pieces of pasta.
The best part about this soup, in my opinion, is the freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top. It really completes the whole soup giving it that extra oomph of flavor.
Check out the video to see just how simple this meatball soup is to make.
If you guys love this recipe, and most importantly make it yourselves, please let us know. Take a picture and tag it #jocooks on Instagram so we can see it. I always love to see what you guys come up with!
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium carrot chopped
- 8 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 2 cups spinach packed down and roughly chopped
- 1 cup dry orzo
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese for serving
Add all the meatball ingredients to a bowl and mix well using your clean hands until well incorporated. Shape into mini meatballs, about 3/4 to an inch and place them in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and saute for a couple minutes or until tender.
Add the meatballs and chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach, orzo, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cool for about 10 to 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the orzo is fully cooked.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with grated Pecorino Romano Cheese or Parmesan cheese.
You can make the meatballs before and freeze them in a freezer bag until ready to use.
Instead of orzo, the soup is also sometimes made with acini de pepe. Orzo can also be substituted with acini de pepe.
For the meatballs you can use half ground pork or half ground beef. You can even just use ground chicken or ground turkey for a healthier version.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
Recipe originally shared August 31, 2011