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black bowl with Italian Wedding Soup and a spoon, plate of bread and a fig leaf salt and pepper shaker set.
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Italian Wedding Soup

Spoon-sized chicken and sausage meatballs and a stracciatella finish elevate this classic Italian Wedding Soup.
Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
First Meatball cooking time 5 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

For the soup base:

  • 1 small onion refer to instructions
  • 1 stalk celery refer to instructions
  • 1 large carrot or 5-7 baby carrots refer to instructions
  • 5 basil leaves directions below
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled

For the Meatballs

  • ½ lb ground chicken
  • ½ lb ground Italian sausage w/o fennel if possible. See note below
  • ¾ cup Romano Cheese grated and divided
  • 1 Tbsp parsley minced
  • 1 egg lightly whisked
  • 2 slices white or wheat bread broken into small pieces
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup warm water

For the soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • qts chicken stock divided
  • 1 cup acini di pepe see note below
  • 1 head escarole or 6 cups (or handfuls) of fresh spinach cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ lemon

Instructions

FIRST STEP || WITH A FOOD PROCESSOR:

  • Place 2 quarters of the onion, the celery, carrots, basil, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 15 seconds until the contents are minced. Set aside and continue to the second step.

FIRST STEP || WITHOUT A FOOD PROCESSOR:

  • Mince the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Place in medium bowl.
  • Stack the basil leaves one on top of each other and roll into a long cylinder. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the roll. Add to other minced veggies. Set aside and continue to the second step.

SECOND STEP || Make the Meatballs

  • Using your hands, lightly combine all the meatball ingredients including ½ cup of Romano except the water in a large bowl until well mixed. Don't overmix it. Add the water and using your hands again, gently incorporate it.
  • Put a little water in a small cup or bowl. Using a teaspoon or small scoop, make small meatballs scooping with one hand and placing in the fingertips of the other hand, lightly shaping the ball. Dip fingers into the water bowl in between making each meatball. Place meatballs on a lightly sprayed or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of the chicken stock to a low boil in a medium saucepan. Keep on a low simmer.
  • After all the meatballs are made, gently place them in the simmering broth and cook for 5 minutes. You might have to do this in batches. [See notes below for making extra or making ahead]
  • Through a fine mesh strainer, strain the meatball poaching liquid and add it to the other pan with the other broth.

STEP THREE || Make the Soup

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the veggies from step one and saute over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining stock to the stockpot along with salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the meatballs and strained poaching liquid along with the spinach or escarole. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the remaining ¼ cup of Romano to the 2 eggs and whisk lightly together. Right before serving, take the handle of a wooden spoon and swirl the soup while slowly pouring the egg and cheese mixture into the pot.
  • Squeeze some lemon in just before serving and sprinkle some grated romano on top. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Notes

  • Acini di pepe pasta is a small round rice-like pasta typically used in Italian wedding soup.
  • If you can't find Italian sausage without fennel, you can substitute plain ground pork for the sausage or use 100% ground chicken. I would add a little drizzle of olive oil to compensate for the loss of fat. Per the post, you can also use ground beef (85%).
  • Gluten-free /dairy free options: use gluten free breadcrumbs or bread. And omit the cheese from the meatballs and finishing of the soup.