Melt-in-your-mouth meatballs soaked into a flavorful broth, with chunks of carrot and spinach. And if that’s not enough, those tiny bits of pasta will complete the Italian vibes.
Reading the name you might think like this is something that is served at Italian weddings. But in fact the ‘wedding’ here refers to the marriage of the various ingredients which come together to make this soup delectable. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually serve me this soup at a wedding because it is that special. It is pleasing to the eyes and comforting to the soul. From meatballs, to pasta, from herbs to vegetables, there isn’t anything that doesn’t remind you of the land of love.
Meatballs are one of the main components of this soup. So, it’s really important to add lots of flavor to them by incorporating herbs. I have used dried oregano, dill and thyme because that was what available to me. Of course using fresh ones will be even better. You may also use mixed Italian herbs. To make the meatballs soft, I have added some cream and grated parmesan cheese (pecorino could also be used). This ensures that the meatballs remain soft, and the egg and bread crumbs helps them to bind properly. I shallow fried the meatballs in a pan. Although it does take more time than baking them, it adds another layer of flavor to your soup.
The second important component is the broth here. To add an in-depth flavor I have used chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock/beef stock). Adding stock instead of water makes a huge difference to the broth based soups. Sauteing vegetables with the leftover browned bits that are remaining after frying the meatballs, add lots of extra taste to your broth. For the greens I have used spinach. You could also add kale or endives instead.
Italian Wedding Soup
For the meatballs
- 800 grams minced beef (substitute: 50% beef, 50% lamb)
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley (chopped)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (substitute grated pecorino)
- 4 Tbsp cream
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (for frying)
For the soup
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 medium onion
- 2 liter chicken stock (substitute: Vegetable/beef stock)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste (substitute: 1/2 cup tomato puree)
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup orzo (Substitute: any other small sized pasta)
- 3 cups fresh spinach
For the meatballs:
- Add all the ingredients to the minced meat and mix well with hands until well incorporated.
- Form into small balls of equal sizes.
- Heat the olive oil in a deep pan/pot on medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches and fry until golden on all sides. Take out from pan and set aside.
For the soup:
- Finely dice the onion, celery and carrots.
- In the same pan where you fried the meatballs (using the same oil remaining), add the onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add finely minced garlic, tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Mix and saute for another 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, cover and let cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
- Now add the pasta, cover and cook for another 10 minutes (add more time if your pasta requires longer to cook).
- Add the meatballs and spinach. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.
- You could make extra meatballs and freeze some for later use as well (before frying). They keep well in the freezer for about a month.
- You could swap the herbs for your favorite ones.
- Add some chili flakes for some extra heat.
- This paste tastes even better the next day, so make sure to make enough to have leftovers.