What Are the Best Tips for Making Italian Wedding Soup?

Cynde Gregory
Cynde Gregory
Escarole is often included in Italian wedding soup.
Escarole is often included in Italian wedding soup.

Even the name, Italian wedding soup, is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. Leave it to the romantic Italians to invent a soup exclusively for the celebration of love. While the idea, a ready assumption given the soup’s name, is a good one, in actuality, Italian wedding soup is found not only at weddings but here, there, and everywhere. Making a memorable wedding soup means using the freshest ingredients, creating memorable meatballs, and remembering that a little zesty lemon brings a bright drop of sunshine to the bowl.

Parmesan cheese is often added to Italian wedding soup.
Parmesan cheese is often added to Italian wedding soup.

While it’s certainly possible to create tiny wedding soup meatballs using just one type of ground meat — be it beef, pork, or chicken — a combination of two or more intensifies the flavors. Bread crumbs bind the meatballs, and beaten raw eggs add moisture and further binding. Most cooks add some hard grated cheese such as Romano or Parmesan. The more lightly the meatballs are handled as the ingredients are mixed, the more tender the resulting little treats will be.

The greens in an Italian wedding soup can include kale.
The greens in an Italian wedding soup can include kale.

The wise cook knows that, while the meatballs can be added directly to the broth to cook, they are much tastier after a quick visit in a skillet where they are lightly browned. While the meatballs are browning, a pot of chicken stock should be simmering away. Sautéed minced garlic and onion added to the stock flavor it richly. A necessary ingredient in Italian wedding soup is greens, although whether escarole, kale, spinach, or another green ends up in the pot is largely a matter of what is available.

Beef is a common ingredient in Italian wedding soup.
Beef is a common ingredient in Italian wedding soup.

The final step in creating a celebratory wedding soup involves a few more beaten eggs together with some grated cheese. Most cooks like to create a combination of cheeses, although they should be of the grating type such as pecorino and Romano. When this combination is drizzled into the broth and stirred, it forms into long, yellow strands that cling to the greens beautifully.

Italian wedding soup is traditionally made using a chicken stock.
Italian wedding soup is traditionally made using a chicken stock.

As with all wonderful and simple recipes, dozens of variations of Italian wedding soup are easy to find. Some create a spicier version by adding ground sausage to the meatballs. Others like to add further flavor and nutrition in the form of celery, carrots, and sweet bell peppers. A splash of white wine brings out the Italian in this soup, and adding some pasta stars or other tiny shapes means children will fall in love with what swims in their bowls beside the tiny meatballs and probably won’t even notice the veggies.

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Discussion Comments

Ocelot60

@talentryto- I agree with your assessment of the flavor of kale. It definitely adds a bold taste to Italian wedding soup.

However, for those who like a more subdued taste to this type of soup, spinach is a great choice. Not only does it have a milder flavor than other types of greens, but spinach also compliments the meatballs nicely and allows their rich, tasty flavor to come through.

Talentryto

Though you can use a variety of different greens when making Italian wedding soup, I have found that the best choice is kale. Not only does it make the soup look very appetizing with its dark green color, but it also adds a rich flavor that is more appealing that that of other types of greens in my opinion.

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    • Escarole is often included in Italian wedding soup.
      Escarole is often included in Italian wedding soup.
    • Parmesan cheese is often added to Italian wedding soup.
      Parmesan cheese is often added to Italian wedding soup.
    • The greens in an Italian wedding soup can include kale.
      The greens in an Italian wedding soup can include kale.
    • Beef is a common ingredient in Italian wedding soup.
      Beef is a common ingredient in Italian wedding soup.
    • Italian wedding soup is traditionally made using a chicken stock.
      Italian wedding soup is traditionally made using a chicken stock.