Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

My cousin Hilary served a delicious version of Italian Wedding Soup at her wedding recently and it was so good that it prompted me to give it a try on my own. I've never made it before and we never really ate it growing up so I didn't have much to work with. I made a few colossal mistakes that I will correct next time, but I can let you know what they were so that you don't follow suit. Mostly, I shouldn't have used a whole box of pastina (tiny pasta stars). They totally took over so that it was more pasta to broth ratio than I would have wanted. I would use less pastina or substitute Isreali cous cous next time. Also, I only bought one bag of spinach when I really should have used two bags or one larger amount of frozen. I wasn't a total failure though. I made the meatballs with turkey meat and I used dill and very toasted breadcrumbs. Something about boiling meatballs in stock doesn't appeal to me, but the toasty breadcrumbs added a depth of flavor that tricked my taste buds into thinking that I'd fried or broiled them. Yum. I highly recommend this soup to warm you up when it's cold outside.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 lb. ground turkey
2 slices wheat toast
2 Tbs. fresh dill
1 egg
12 oz. spinach (2 bags fresh or a frozen package)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 light beer
1 onion
3 medium carrots
1 cup Israeli cous cous
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Make breadcrumbs by toasting the slices of bread and smashing them in a food processor. I like to make the toast pretty dark so that it gives the meatballs more flavor. 2. Finely chop dill and in a large bowl combine turkey meat, dill, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper until well combined.
3. Use this mixture to make tiny meatballs. You want about 1/2 tsp. sized balls here. Very small so that they are bite-size on your spoon. I had Mark help me with this and it was very romantic.
4. Chop the carrots and the onion into bite-sized pieces. In your stock pot, heat 1/2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add carrots and onions with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add one beer and the stock.
5. Once the stock comes to a slow boil, add the meatballs, pasta and spinach.
6. Allow to cook for 20 minutes or so on a very low boil by which time the pasta and meatballs with both be fully cooked. Ladle into waiting bowls and top with generous shavings of Parmesan cheese.
Stir in the parm and enjoy.


  1. Delish! We have this Thanksgiving every year but with escarole!

  2. Chica, we bought ground turkey at Sam's club in a two pack of 2.5 lbs each, and I was all, WTF are we going to do? Your recipe came at the perfect time. We used what we had (shallots, carrots, Israeli couscous, beer, seasoned breadcrumbs), and it is DELICIOUS. Really. So good that I was pissed off to have a meeting with free lunch today, because I was looking forward to leftovers.


  3. I think I will try it with a bitter green next time for more flavor. I do love me some spinach, though.

    I am (read: Mark is) so lucky that I don't have a Sam's Club near me. I would be beyond out of control.

  4. My mom makes this a lot and the sons-in-law love it which is why we had it at the wedding. We use escarole as well, and my mom cooks the pastina (ditalini, or orzo or whatever small pasta you have on hand) separate from the soup so that the pasta doesn't soak up as much broth as it would by cooking in the soup itself. And, yes, she only uses about 1 cup instead of 1/2 box.

  5. Costco Crystal City!!! It's also a great place to buy prescription glasses, beer, croutons (J's favorite), and believe it or not, photo prints--especially large ones. No, they aren't paying me, but yes, I do buy 12-packs of Chobani.