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Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup

This simple recipe for Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup is both light and hearty despite being made with handmade meatballs, little pasta, spinach, and a broth with a beautiful flavor profile. On a rainy and chilly day, this dish is the epitome of satisfaction.

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Why You’ll Love This Italian Wedding Soup Recipe:

  • The Italian Wedding Soup is a savory and satisfying soup that will bring a smile to your face. While the meatballs and noodles give the soup its body, the broth can be made fairly quickly and does not take up much room in the bowl.
  • When it comes to making soups like this one, I always make sure to have a stock of handmade Italian meatballs in the freezer. As long as there are meatballs in the freezer, this is a simple soup recipe that can be made whenever you want because the rest components are pantry staples.
  • After that, all you need is half an hour to have a warm bowl of Italian wedding meatball soup ready for your guests.
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup

What Is Italian Wedding Soup?

The Italian Wedding Soup is a hearty stew that is prepared by combining chicken and beef broth with meatballs, tiny noodles, spinach or other types of greens, and spices. Despite its name, it is not traditionally offered during weddings in Italy. Instead, the term originates from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata,” which may be translated as “wedded soup.” It is speculated that this is a metaphor for how harmoniously the many flavors combine, much like a marriage.

Where Does Italian Wedding Soup From?

It is believed to have originated in Naples in the 15th century before the tomato was introduced into Italian cuisine. However, many suggest that it was Spanish cooks who brought a similar stew known as olla podrida there a century earlier from Toledo and other regions of central Spain.

Why Is It Called Italian Wedding Soup?

It is somewhat of a misnomer to refer to this meal as “Italian wedding soup” because the soup has nothing to do with weddings. It is thought that the term originates from the words “minestra maritata,” which may be translated as “married soup.” In this case, it is not the two people that come together to form a partnership but rather all of the tastes in the pot that work so well together.

What Ingredients To Make Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup?

In addition to the components for Ina Garten’s wedding soup, the following list includes the components for handmade meatballs.

(For further information, including measurements, scroll down to the printed recipe card.)

For the Meatballs

  • Ground beef: Select leaner cuts of ground beef if you want your finished product to be less oily.
  • Onion & Garlic: onion and garlic are great for adding flavor and a beautiful scent.
  • Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, and fresh chopped parsley make up the seasonings.
  • Parmesan: To get the most out of your parmesan, try to grate your Parmigiano-Reggiano straight off the block whenever you can.
  • Milk: is what gives the meatballs their delicate texture.
  • Egg: a component that contributes to the overall cohesiveness.
  • Bread crumb: Crumbs of bread are a binder that is used in the recipe. seasoned with Italian herbs and spices to provide the meatballs with a more robust taste.
  • Olive oil:  was utilized in the process of browning the meatballs.

To Prepare the Soup

  • Vegetables: Garlic, sweet onion, carrot, and celery are some of the vegetables that are added to the soup to give it taste, texture, and color.
  • Olive oil: The sautéing of the veggies is done using olive oil.
  • Seasonings: In terms of seasonings, you may flavor the broth with crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, as well as a little amount of salt and pepper.
  • Broth: For the broth, a combination of chicken broth and beef broth is typically utilized. The flavor of the beef broth is more robust, while the chicken broth serves to lighten up the overall consistency of the soup.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar made from apple cider helps bring out the other tastes in the dish.
  • Acini de Pepe pasta: Acini de Pepe pasta is a classic component of this soup and also happens to be one of my personal favorites. It becomes swollen and takes on the appearance of tapioca.
  • Baby spinach: Fresh baby spinach, not the frozen variety.
  • Meatballs: It is recommended that you prepare them fresh (as described in the previous section), but it is OK to purchase them as well. They should have a circular diameter of roughly 1 inch. If using frozen, let it thaw first.
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that has been freshly grated and is for serving
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup

How To Make Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup?

Make the Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray either one or two rimmed baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and put them aside.
  • To make the meatballs, combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a big bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  • Form balls out of the mixture using a cookie scoop that’s about the size of a tablespoon (you should end up with approximately 30 meatballs.)
  • In a large pan, bring the olive oil to a temperature of medium-high. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown them on both sides, which should take approximately four minutes total. (If necessary, add extra olive oil, and reduce the temperature if the vegetables appear to be browning too quickly.) They ought to just have a lovely golden crust.)
  • After the meatballs have been browned, place them on the baking pans and then move them to the oven to complete cooking for another 15 to 18 minutes (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F.)

Make the Soup

  • The olive oil should be warmed up in a big Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. After adding the onions, carrots, and celery, sauté them while stirring for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked and the onions have become soft and translucent. After approximately 20 seconds, stir in the garlic and heat until the aroma is released. To taste, season the dish with crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, a little amount of salt and pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • After pouring in the broths, bring the chicken broth, beef broth, and vinegar to a boil.
  • After the meatballs and acini de Pepe pasta have been cooked through, put the pot on lower heat and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the spinach until it has wilted.
  • Place four to five meatballs in each bowl, then sprinkle each with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Have some with some crusty bread on the side, and enjoy!

Recipe Tips 

  • In my perspective, searing the meatballs makes a huge difference in the final product. Why would you simply let them stew in the broth when you could brown them first and add all that flavor?
  • Reduce the size of the meatballs. This is not a giant dish of pasta; rather, it is soup.
  • Make use of the fresh herbs. They contribute a wonderful taste.
  • Maintain your commitment to the mix of the two different types of meat.
  • Make use of freshly-crumbled bread. Once more, we are working to improve the flavor. This recipe would not turn out correctly regardless of whether the texture was dry.
  • Garlic is an essential ingredient, so use it liberally. This is a traditional soup from Italy. In this instance, I prefer to use four cloves.
  • Parmesan, here we come! The grated parmesan will work wonderfully as an excellent complement to the soup. Even if it is not depicted as a finishing garnish, you shouldn’t forget to include it!
  • I really like how the use of little pasta distinguishes this soup from others.

Recipe Variations:

This simple soup recipe may be altered in a few different ways, both in terms of its consistency and its flavor.

  • Make the soup have more of a broth. You may reduce the amount of pasta to one-fourth of a cup if you like your soup to have more liquid. Be aware that while the soup rests, the pasta will absorb more stock; hence, you will be able to add additional broth to the soup to get the correct consistency.
  • Make turkey meatballs in place of the beef ones. If you like, you may use ground turkey for the beef in this recipe. You might also use a combination of pork and beef when making the mixture.
  • Try several types of greens. In traditional Italian wedding soup, common vegetables include kale, endive, and escarole. You are welcome to use either one in place of the spinach; however, you will need to include them in the soup while it is still boiling.

What Kind Of Pasta Is Traditionally Served In Italian Wedding Soup? 

If you are unable to find acini de Pepe pasta, you can substitute pearl couscous, orzo, or ditalini for it this soup. However, we strongly recommend that you use acini de Pepe pasta. The amount of time needed to prepare the food will likely need to be adjusted.

Would It Be Okay To Use Frozen Meatballs? 

Absolutely. You are welcome to use whatever brand of store-bought meatballs that you like; however, I find it most convenient to always have some homemade meatballs on hand so that I can use them in dishes like this one. If you do not have any homemade meatballs on hand, store-bought meatballs should work just fine. I would recommend that you look for ones that are seasoned with Italian herbs and spices if I were in your position.

What Is Acini De Pepe Pasta?

The name translates to “seeds of pepper” in the Italian language. They are traditionally considered a sign of fertility, which is why they are commonly used in Italian wedding soup. Acini di pepe is also frequently referred to as Pastina, which is Italian for “little dough.” However, some pasta manufacturers consider pastina to be a more diminutive version of acini di pepe.

Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup

What Can I Prepare Ahead Of Time?

This recipe for Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup is straightforward, but it does need chopping up a few different vegetables and putting together the meatballs, both of which can take some time. You are in luck since you may accomplish both in advance!

Vegetables: When it comes to vegetables, you may cut the onions, celery, and carrots ahead of time, as well as the garlic. Keep the garlic in a separate bag or container in the refrigerator from the onions, carrots, and celery. The onions, excluding the half that will be used for the meatballs, should be stored in an airtight container together.

Assemble the meatballs: At this point, you can assemble the meatballs in full compliance with the instructions. When storing uncooked meatballs, place them on a sheet of parchment paper and cover them in foil or plastic wrap very firmly. The uncooked meatballs should be stored refrigerated for up to 24 hours until they are ready to be used, at which point they should be added to the soup.

Freeze meatballs: You may alternatively quickly freeze the uncooked meatballs on the baking sheet coated with parchment for one to two hours, then move them to a container that is suitable for the freezer, and store them for three to four months. Additional instructions with a greater level of depth.

What To Serve With Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup?

Can I Use Vegetable Broth Instead?

The flavor of chicken broth is more appealing and salty than the flavor of vegetable broth, which is why I do not advocate vegetarian broth. That doesn’t mean you can’t use veggie broth, though; it just means the Italian Wedding Soup won’t have the same depth of flavor and richness if you do.

Can I Use A Different Pasta?

In the Italian Wedding Soup, my first choice of pasta is always acini de Pepe rather than any other kind. Because of their pearl-like shape, they have an exquisite texture, and because they are so little, you can enjoy an abundance of them in each mouthful without the flavor of the other components being overpowered.

Having said that, you might use orzo pasta as a substitute for acini de Pepe if you are unable to locate it. Ditalini or little shells would be my third alternative.

How Long does Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup Last In The Fridge?

The Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup must be stored in a container that has a secure lid and is capable of preventing air leakage. This container must be maintained in the refrigerator. If it is stored properly, it has a shelf life of somewhere between three and five days.

How To Freeze Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup?

If you are going to make Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup ahead of time only to freeze it, then you should leave out the pasta and spinach and add them when the soup is reheated fresh. If you plan on freezing any leftovers, you might freeze the soup together with the pasta and the spinach. Because it is so little, the pasta freezes far better than other types of pasta.

To Freeze Italian Wedding Soup:

  • Allow the soup to cool completely before freezing it to ensure that the integrity of the ingredients is maintained and that it does not spend an excessive amount of time in the temperature range known as the “danger zone.”
  • Package: Move the soup to a container that can be frozen as well as to smaller containers.
  • Freeze. Put In The Freezer For Up To Three Months.
  • Defrost/reheat. When you are ready to use the item, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then follow the instructions for reheating it on the stove or in the microwave.
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup
Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup

How To Reheat Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup?

In The Stove:

 Large portions of Italian Wedding Soup may be reheated on the stovetop over medium-low heat with gentle stirring until the soup is completely warmed through. If more water or broth is required to get the appropriate consistency, add it as needed.

In The Microwave:

Microwave: Place the soup in a dish that is safe for the microwave and cover it with a lid that is safe for the microwave or a paper towel. After two minutes in the microwave, give the food a toss, and then continue cooking for further intervals of 30 seconds, if necessary. To get the correct consistency, stir in extra broth or water as needed.

FAQ Section

Can I Make Italian Wedding Soup Ahead Of Time?

Yes! Since the flavor of the Italian Wedding Soup improves with age, you can feel free to prepare it in advance and enjoy it for either lunch or supper. This is true of all soups. Be aware, however, that the pasta will soak up a significant amount of the broth; consequently, you will need to add some extra water to the soup to get the correct consistency.

How To Make Creamy Italian Wedding Soup?

You can also make the Italian Wedding Soup creamy by substituting all of the chicken stock with flour, half-and-half, and cornstarch, and then adding them to the soup.
To prepare the veggies, cook them in 4 tablespoons of butter.
In the final minute of cooking, sprinkle one-third cup of flour over the onions, carrots, and celery, and continue to simmer for one minute.
Use either 6 cups of chicken broth together with 4 cups of half-and-half that has been combined with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch OR 4 cups of heavy cream without the cornstarch. These should be used in place of using all chicken broth.

Do I Have To Brown The Meatballs First?

No! This not only saves you time by eliminating the step of browning the meatballs but also infuses the broth with a TON of flavor that cannot be achieved any other way. The authentic Italian Wedding Soup calls for dropping the meatballs directly into the simmering soup to cook just like I do in my Albondigas Soup – this not only saves you time by eliminating the step of browning the meatballs but also saves you time. Just remove the fat that has accumulated on the surface of the soup before serving.

Italian Wedding Soup Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving ( 2 Cups )

  • Calories 240
  • Total Fat 7g
  • Saturated Fat 3g
  • Cholesterol 30mg
  • Sodium 1578mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 30g
  • Dietary Fiber 4g
  • Sugars 6g
  • Protein 14g
  • Vitamin A 20%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 6%
  • Iron 12%

Nutrition Facts Source: Source

Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 25 minutesCook time: 25 minutesRest time: minutesTotal time: 50 minutesServings:6 servingsCalories:240 kcal Best Season:Available

Description

This simple recipe for Ina Garten Italian Wedding Soup is both light and hearty despite being made with handmade meatballs, little pasta, spinach, and a broth with a beautiful flavor profile. On a rainy and chilly day, this dish is the epitome of satisfaction.

Ingredients

    For the Meatballs

  • For the Soup

Instructions

    Make the Meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray either one or two rimmed baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and put them aside.
  2. To make the meatballs, combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a big bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  3. Form balls out of the mixture using a cookie scoop that’s about the size of a tablespoon (you should end up with approximately 30 meatballs.)
  4. In a large pan, bring the olive oil to a temperature of medium-high. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown them on both sides, which should take approximately four minutes total. (If necessary, add extra olive oil, and reduce the temperature if the vegetables appear to be browning too quickly.) They ought to just have a lovely golden crust.)
  5. After the meatballs have been browned, place them on the baking pans and then move them to the oven to complete cooking for another 15 to 18 minutes (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F.)
  6. Make the Soup

  7. The olive oil should be warmed up in a big Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. After adding the onions, carrots, and celery, sauté them while stirring for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked and the onions have become soft and translucent. After approximately 20 seconds, stir in the garlic and heat until the aroma is released. To taste, season the dish with crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, a little amount of salt and pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. After pouring in the broths, bring the chicken broth, beef broth, and vinegar to a boil.
  9. After the meatballs and acini de Pepe pasta have been cooked through, put the pot on lower heat and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the spinach until it has wilted.
  11. Place four to five meatballs in each bowl, then sprinkle each with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Have some with some crusty bread on the side, and enjoy!

Notes

  • In my perspective, searing the meatballs makes a huge difference in the final product. Why would you simply let them stew in the broth when you could brown them first and add all that flavor?
  • Reduce the size of the meatballs. This is not a giant dish of pasta; rather, it is soup.
  • Make use of the fresh herbs. They contribute a wonderful taste.
  • Maintain your commitment to the mix of the two different types of meat.
  • Make use of freshly-crumbled bread. Once more, we are working to improve the flavor. This recipe would not turn out correctly regardless of whether the texture was dry.
  • Garlic is an essential ingredient, so use it liberally. This is a traditional soup from Italy. In this instance, I prefer to use four cloves.
  • Parmesan, here we come! The grated parmesan will work wonderfully as an excellent complement to the soup. Even if it is not depicted as a finishing garnish, you shouldn’t forget to include it!
  • I really like how the use of little pasta distinguishes this soup from others.
  • Recipe Variations:
  • This simple soup recipe may be altered in a few different ways, both in terms of its consistency and its flavor.
  • Make the soup have more of a broth. You may reduce the amount of pasta to one-fourth of a cup if you like your soup to have more liquid. Be aware that while the soup rests, the pasta will absorb more stock; hence, you will be able to add additional broth to the soup to get the correct consistency.
  • Make turkey meatballs in place of the beef ones. If you like, you may use ground turkey for the beef in this recipe. You might also use a combination of pork and beef when making the mixture.
  • Try several types of greens. In traditional Italian wedding soup, common vegetables include kale, endive, and escarole. You are welcome to use either one in place of the spinach; however, you will need to include them in the soup while it is still boiling.
Nutrition Facts

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 243
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g10%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 1578mg66%
Total Carbohydrate 30g10%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Sugars 6g
Protein 14g29%

Vitamin A 20%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 6%
Iron 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.