Italian Wedding Soup

by Michelle Fierek

I was under the impression that Italian Wedding Soup was precisely that — a soup rich in tradition, served at Italian weddings! Well, that is not really the case.

The original Italian name for this soup is minestra maritata,  which translates to “married soup” in relation to the marriage of its ingredients. It was considered a peasant dish consisting of broth, greens, and meat.  

This recipe is the American version most often seen today. It is made with chicken meatballs and spinach, but you can use any ground meat for the meatballs and any greens that you like. Buon appetito!



For the meatballs:

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1 large egg

1 T Italian seasoning

Salt / pepper

1 T olive oil for browning

For the soup:

1 T olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6-8 cup chicken stock*

1/2 cup cooked acini di Pepe pasta (or orzo)

4 cup baby spinach 

Parmesan for garnish 


-Combine meatball ingredients. Roll into 1-inch balls.

-In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 T oil and brown meatballs in batches. Remove from pot and set aside (they will finish cooking in the soup).

-Heat 1 T oil and add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Sauté for 5 minutes, then stir in garlic and sauté another minute.

-Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.

-Add meatballs and pasta and simmer for 10 minutes or until meatballs cook through and pasta is done.

-Stir in spinach. 

-Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve.

* the pasta will absorb the broth as it sits and make the soup thicker, add more broth for desired consistency.