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An image of a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup with homemade meatballs.
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5 from 1 vote

Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup recipe is loaded with homemade meatballs, acini de pepe pasta, and veggies, in a wonderful savory broth with Parmesan cheese on top. It's satisfying all year long!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 325kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil divided

Soup

  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 2 celery stalks diced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup Acini De Pepe pasta
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach kale, curly endive, chard, or other bitter leafy green

Garnish

  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together except for the olive oil. I find this is easiest to do with my hands by squishing until everything is evenly combined. Just try not to overwork the meatballs or they will be tough.
  • Shape the meat mixture into small 1-inch meatballs. I usually end up with about 50-60 meatballs, depending on how small I make them.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in a single layer and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side (the meatballs don't need to be cooked all the way through, just browned to give them color and flavor). You may need to work in batches to brown all of the meatballs. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate. Drain any grease.
  • Using the same pot or dutch oven, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrots, onion, and celery. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the chicken and beef broths, along with the basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs and acini de pepe pasta. If using a tougher green like kale, chard, or curly endive, add it at this point as well.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is al dente. Stir in the spinach (if using), then serve. Garnish with the freshly parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • Orzo pasta or even alphabet pasta can be used in place of the acini de pepe.
  • Oven-Baked Meatballs: You can omit the oil and bake the meatballs first, if you prefer. Just preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes until mostly cooked. They don't have to cook all the way through because they will finish cooking in the broth.
  • Crock Pot Method: Make the meatballs and brown them in a pan first. Add the meatballs to a large crock pot with all of the remaining soup ingredients except for the pasta and spinach. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours. Add the acini de pepe pasta and cook on low for 30 minutes, then stir in the spinach and serve.
  • Instant Pot Method: Make the meatballs and brown them in the Instant Pot using 2 tablespoons of oil on the SAUTE setting. Remove the meatballs and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then saute the carrots, onion, and celery for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the browned meatballs and all remaining soup ingredients back into the instant pot except for the acini de pepe pasta and spinach and close the lid, setting the valve to seal. Cook on HIGH manual pressure for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Add the acini de pepe and use the saute function to cook the soup for 10 minutes until the pasta is done, then stir in the spinach and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 1600mg | Potassium: 677mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5929IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 4mg