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Italian Wedding-ish Soup

June 13, 2011

It started out as Italian Wedding soup, that is. I found a promising-looking recipe from Allrecipes but decided to alter it significantly after reading some of the reviews and deciding I wanted more flavor and also would never be able to get a hold of escarole.

I loved my version, and so did the BF, who is a notoriously picky eater. He didn’t even try picking out all the veggies, and he had four (!) helpings the night I made it and the two leftover servings the other night for dinner. I think he liked it. Sometimes that man surprises me.

I’m just going to remind everyone real quick that I never cook with exact measurements unless it’s baking, so for a few of these measurements (like spice amounts), you might want to use a ‘to taste’ approach.

So here’s what I did:


Italian Wedding-ish Soup:

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs

1 egg

1 pinch ground red pepper flakes

1 sprinkle sea salt

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, bruised (smack the flat of your knife on each clove to get the juices flowing), peeled and cut in half

2 tbs olive oil

1 pat of butter

1 49oz can low-sodium chicken broth

3 carrots, sliced down the middle and chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 c acini di pepe (tiny pasta) or orzo (a different kind of tiny pasta)

1 fresh tomato, diced

1 c chopped spinach (I buy mine frozen then defrost and squeeze out all the excess water. It leaves about a cup)


The first five ingredients – from the beef to the sprinkle of sea salt – are for the tiny meatballs. Mix them together in a bowl and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, bring olive oil up to medium heat and sweat onions with a bit of salt, garlic cloves and a tiny bit more red pepper flakes. While onions are cooking down, begin forming the meatballs, making them about three quarters of an inch.

When onions are tender (about five to seven minutes), remove from pot and set aside. Add pat of butter to pan and then add the meatballs, in batches if you have to. Try not to crowd the pan too much or they won’t brown, they’ll steam. This step took me around ten minutes.

When meatballs are done browning, remove from pan, add onions back and let them brown a bit (four to five minutes) in the leftover oil and butter. I used lean beef so it didn’t leave much fat. Pour in a small amount of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan (pour in enough to come up the sides about an inch), scraping the brown bits off the bottom. They’re good, don’t worry.

Add the chopped carrots, cover the pot and let cook for five minutes. Add the rest of the chicken broth, fill the can a third of the way with water and add that as well. Then add the meatballs. Taste the soup at this point. If it needs more salt, add it. Add the bay leaf, basil and parsley.

Next, add the acini di pepe or orzo, and the diced tomato. Cover and let simmer for ten minutes.

Lastly, add the spinach. Stir in to separate it and let soup simmer for about five minutes. It’s ready to serve and enjoy at this point.


I don’t know how many this would serve. I suppose it depends on if you’re having anything else with it.

In a perfect world, I would have served this to the BF in lovely large bowls in our dining room at an old white dining table, using my favorite placemats. The soup would be in in a large tureen in the middle of our table, beside it would be a large loaf of crusty, home made bread and butter. We’d be dressed in normal clothes and we’d talk about our day. I’d have made a pitcher of sweet tea earlier in the day and served it during dinner.  I’d sprinkle the soup with parmesan cheese that didn’t come from a foil-lined cardboard shaker and actually looked like a wheel of cheese at some point in its life and we’d use cloth napkins. Maybe even a vase of flowers.

In our world, we ate on the couch dressed in our pajamas and watched National Geographic’s Beyond The Return of the King. There was no bread, butter or parmesan cheese. Not even fake.  BF drank a Coke and I had water. Napkins were paper towels. Then we had popsicles.

We’re a classy couple.





2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2011 8:20 pm

    I love wedding soup! I make it by the gallon in the winter time. Mine is not as fancy as yours though. I love the description of the perfect meal, maybe next time.

    • June 13, 2011 11:18 pm

      I didn’t start out making it fancy, I just had extra time on my hands and I’d been picky about the brand of ground beef I used that time. Browning it in butter gave it some extra flavor.

      Haha! Maybe SOMEDAY is probably more accurate. 🙂 I was really happy that BF loved it so much, he usually turns his nose up at anything with veggies in it.

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