Italian Wedding Soup

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!
A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

This wedding soup recipe is the very first one that I ever posted here on my little corner of the Internet. I grew up eating it at countless restaurants, at home and, of course, at weddings. My mom would make it occasionally, but it wasn’t until two summers ago that I fell in love with it again. I’m usually not one to devour soup during the summer months, but I was going through the first trimester of my pregnancy, and spent many days not very interested in food at all. Every Sunday, my mom would deliver me a fresh pot of homemade wedding soup, and I ate it for nearly every meal throughout the week (with oyster crackers – a must!). It absolutely hit the spot.

A few weeks ago, we were celebrating my father-in-law’s birthday so I asked him what he would like for dinner. Along with meatballs and rigatoni, he requested wedding soup. I hadn’t made it myself in years, so I was excited to have the opportunity to refresh my memory and do this fabulous recipe justice with new photos 🙂

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

While the most basic wedding soups include some type of meat, a green vegetable, pasta and clear broth, I’ve always loved how wonderfully hearty my mom’s recipe is.

Not only does she do the standard miniature meatballs, but she adds shredded chicken as well. I think it gives the soup so much more oomph and definitely makes it feel like more of a meal than just a bowl of soup.

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

When I’m not feeling well, it’s this wedding soup, and not your typical chicken noodle soup, that soothes my soul and makes me feel better.

Between the meatballs, chicken, little bits of pasta, carrots, celery and spinach, it’s extremely healthy, too!

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

Italian Wedding Soup

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

A classic Italian wedding soup recipe, with little bits of pasta, shredded chicken, spinach and of course those little meatballs!

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, grated
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
1½ teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites

For the Chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the Soup:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced small
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
12 cups chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup acini di pepi or other small pasta
8 ounces fresh spinach, chopped

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs and shape into small (½-inch) balls. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts in a large stockpot and fill with water until it is covering the chicken by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and use tongs to remove the chicken to a large plate. Shred the chicken and set aside. Empty water from stockpot.

3. Melt butter in the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Gently add the meatballs to the soup and cook for 7 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the shredded chicken. Cover again and allow to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. You can eat as soon as the chicken is re-heated, but allowing it to simmer for a little longer allows all the new flavors to meld together.

(Source: Combination of my mom and Elly Says Opa!)

This recipe was originally published on February 11, 2007.

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55 Responses to “Italian Wedding Soup”

  1. Joelen on February 11, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    looks good! 🙂

    Reply

    • Laura ~ RYG on February 18th, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Looks stellar actually! When I was sick, someone brought me soup that looked exactly like this and it was wonderful. I actually think it was party of the healing process. I asked for the recipe though and my friend said no!!!! I was crushed. Didn’t ask again but thanks for sharing this.

      Reply

  2. getinmyface on February 11, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Looks good!

    I saw your blog in your siggy on the nest, and I wanted to add you to my friends list on my food blog if that’s ok. 🙂 My food blog is http://getinmyface.blogspot.com

    My username on the nest is blondewithabug. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Ashleigh on March 27, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Hey chicka! This is amazing soup! GREAT recipe. Thanks for sharing. My sick hubby says “Thank you” too!

    Reply

  4. Laura on October 9, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Yum! I’m printing this out right now. I’ve been looking for some tasty soup recipes to try. Thank you! : )

    Reply

  5. Laura on October 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Wanted to let you know that I made a big pot of this soup yesterday and it was delicious! It is some of the best soup I’ve ever had. Seriously! Yum! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

    Reply

  6. Sana on August 20, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Hi!! I just finished reading the entire blog (in 3 days hehe) and I loved the recipes and the way you write..got linked to this through Annie’s blog which I also love. Great going!! I am a beginner baker (only plain cakes and an apple pie to my credit) but would love to try all these wonderful things.

    Reply

  7. laughinglunchlady on February 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I’m in the process of making this soup and I’m at a stand still b/c I need acini de pepi. thought about using thin egg noodles but just a thought. Can’t do it. Almost messed up the broth. I had three containers of frozen stock. thought it was chicken. It was a pork stock. I was saving to use for a bean soup. Thank *** I’m a taster. I put that back in cotainers with the addition of the veggies. my kids thing the little meatballs are cute and delicious. will let you know the final outcome. Oh yeah, when I go to the store, I’m also picking up the chocolate to make the brownie cookies 🙂

    Reply

  8. laughinglunchlady on February 28, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Soup was delicious! Love it when the temperature is warm. I can taste all of the flavors then. I love making soup! Thank you once again for sharing a good soup recipe. 🙂

    Reply

  9. Marie @ Cottage Homestead on February 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Oh WOW! I can’t wait to try this!!!

    Reply

  10. Kristie Havyer on February 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I just made this and IT IS SOOOOOOO GOOD!~ Thanks so much for this awesome recipe~

    Reply

  11. Sam on February 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I would love to make this but I am the only soup eater at my house. Do you know if this freezes well?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 22nd, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      Yes, it freezes wonderfully, I do that often!

      Reply

  12. Bridget on March 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    This was a wonderful recipe! Thanks!

    Reply

  13. Heather on March 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My whole family enjoyed it. I had to alter it slightly to be gluten free, but it was still wonderful.

    Reply

  14. Maria on October 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I spotted this recipe almost a year ago and made it once during the winter season. It was a hit. So incredibly tasty. I am finally making it again today and wanted to both thank you for such a great website and all the inspiration as well as share that I use the Cooks Illustrated method for making the chicken from their Chicken and Dumplings recipe, which really enhances the broth flavor.

    Reply

  15. Johanna on November 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Love this soup! Second time I’ve made it now, and it’s so good. I do half italian sausage and half beef though for the meat balls, as I like the taste of the sausage. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

    Reply

  16. Fahad Khan (@PharaohKhan) on June 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

    What a delicious soup!The combination of ingredients – Veggies,Chicken,Garlic,Beef Meatballs,Parmesan Cheese – add to it Spinach – even better!
    I am going to note down/bookmark this;Thank you for sharing!:-)

    Reply

  17. Cfrosty on September 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Oh my lands, this soup is heavenly. Have tried other recipes and found them to be lacking in flavor so I quit looking for one. Now I can truly quit trying to replicate the one at our wedding reception.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    Reply

  18. BarbE on February 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Perfect recipe for a cold windy day. I substituted sweet italian susage for the ground beef & just eliminated the dry basil. Also, my meat mix was pretty wet so I just sprinkled some more parmesan into the mix. Thanks for another yummy recipe!

    Reply

  19. maureen on January 27, 2015 at 10:31 am

    would like to know the calories and fat info on this recipe

    Reply

  20. Erika on November 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    this must be good!!
    I only wonder why it’s called Italian Wedding Soup as we don’t have anything like that in Italy… especially for weddings!! 🙂

    Reply

  21. Jan on February 17, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Recipe looks great, I love soups but why throw away the water you cooked the chicken? Much tastier to use your broth!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Hi Jan, They are skinless, boneless chicken breasts and are simmered just long enough for the chicken to be cooked through. The water they are cooked in does not have much flavor – a true homemade stock (simmered for hours with bones and aromatics) or store bought broth/stock is much more flavorful!

      Reply

  22. Maria D. on February 17, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I love the look of this soup and I agree that adding shredded chicken would make it more hearty – adding it to my try out list

    Reply

  23. Geni on February 17, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Could this be converted to a Freezer Meal? I guess, mix everything except the pasta and add it after sitting in crock pot for 4 hours on low.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Hi Geni, I don’t see why not!

      Reply

  24. Lois on February 17, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    My Dad (chef) use to make this – it was my favorite. He did not add chicken to it, he added eggs (like egg drop soup). Yummy

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Lois, My grandma often made a simpler version of this with egg as well!

      Reply

  25. Dawn on February 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I love Italian wedding soup and make regularly. This recipe looks awesome! Nothing like a big bowl of hot, hearty comforting soup! YUM!

    Reply

  26. Julie on February 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    When you add the meatballs & then the pasta, do you still leave the heat on low, or do you turn it back up to high to cook those items? Thx! Would love to try this recipe.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Julie, I keep the heat on a low simmer.

      Reply

  27. Kari on February 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    This looks delicious! I could dive right in!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

    Reply

  28. Becky in Waxahachie on February 17, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I was so excited to see this recipe but not for the reasons you may think. Not that it doesn’t look really good and I’m going to save it for later. But, when I saw the pictures I recognized the pasta used in the recipe. I have been looking for this pasta for years! And I have lived in two different states during that time but still haven’t come across it. I need it for an old recipe called Frog Eye Salad. Its a fruity salad with a sweet creamy whipped dressing and that pasta makes it look like there are frog eyes in it! Kids love it. Can you tell me where you got your acini di pepi? I live in Texas now and have looked in most major markets. Thanks! Love your blog, recipes and your beautiful family.

    Reply

  29. mary on February 17, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    This reminds me of my 92 year old Nonna teaching me how to make this soup. She had arthritis in her hands so she was the Meatball Supervisor-she harassed us until they were just the right size! (very tiny)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Aww haha! So much better to have lots of tiny meatballs than just a few larger ones, in my opinion 🙂

      Reply

  30. mary on February 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    have made this soup many times! delicious!!!! last time I added a parmesan rind!

    Reply

  31. Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction on February 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Michelle,
    This soup is on my bucket list. I love family recipes and can’t wait to try this one. Pinned.
    Annamaria

    Reply

  32. Chris on February 18, 2016 at 6:32 am

    I made this soup last week during the blizzard. It was delicious!

    Reply

  33. Pingback: Elegant Cakes – The Weekend Dish: 2/20/16

  34. LuckyBread on February 20, 2016 at 7:31 am

    its look very delicious and healthy. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  35. Alicia on February 20, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Can you use quinoa instead of the pasta? This looks and sounds so so good.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 23rd, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Alicia, I’ve never tried it, let me know how you like it!

      Reply

  36. Wendy on February 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Okay, I made this over the weekend…no question, this is the best soup that has ever come out of my kitchen. My husband, the ‘occasional’ soup eater, had three bowls!! I can’t believe it’s so simple to make! What have I been waiting for?!?! I make all kinds of complicated stuff, and it doesn’t taste nearly as great as this recipe. Only changes…used Kale instead of spinach…cause that’s what I had…and oven roasted chicken breasts on the bone instead of poaching them. I think it gives them a better taste. I then used the bones (after pulling the meat off of them) to flavor the stock. Meatballs, chicken, vegies…FABULOUS recipe, BEB!!! Thank you!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 23rd, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed this! xo

      Reply

  37. Tamara on February 22, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Just made this tonight — fabulous!! I’ve been buying Italian Wedding Soup at a local Italian deli, won’t be doing that again. Another amazing recipe to add to my collection.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 23rd, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Awesome to hear!!

      Reply

  38. Eli on March 3, 2016 at 4:54 am

    This looks fantastic!!

    Reply

  39. Leslie on April 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    I made this today. As with all your recipes, it was a big hit. I kept putting off making it, because it seemed like a big project. However, I prepared the meatballs and chicken yesterday. Putting the soup together today was a snap. Thank you for another terrific recipe.

    Reply

  40. Anna on May 11, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    WOW!!! This turned out so good! I think this is now my favorite soup recipe. Everyone that’s had it has raved. Thanks so much for sharing. I love your site. Thank you!!

    Reply

  41. Jennifer on May 18, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    12 cups of broth seems like a lot. I just wanted to confirm that was correct!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 21st, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Jennifer, Yes! This makes a big pot of soup 🙂

      Reply

  42. Debra Nichols on June 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    This Italian Wedding Soup is the best recipe I have made. So tasty and full of veggies. Everyone at my house really enjoyed it. Am making some more as I write this….. yummy! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Reply

  43. gmail correo electronico on August 1, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Hello Michelle, please tell me how many calories in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 4th, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      I have no clue, I don’t calculate the calories for recipes.

      Reply

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