If you're from Pittsburgh then you've probably tasted Italian wedding soup. It's a chicken stock base with pasta, spinach, and homemade meatballs. Try this recipe and see why everyone loves it so much.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, a true melting pot of different cultures and great cooks, I have enjoyed numerous delicious meals. From the simple chipped ham barbecue sandwich to the more complex stuff cabbage rolls and pierogies.
Dishes that seem commonplace to us may be entirely new to someone from out of town. Take wedding soup for example. You can find this on the menu at many Italian and family restaurants all over the Pittsburgh area.
Where Does Wedding Soup Get Its Name?
You won't necessarily see this dish at a wedding because the name wedding soup is more about the translation of the soup's name. In Italian minestra maritata translates to "wedded soup" referring to the combinations of meatballs and greens as a great marriage of flavors.
My husband's meatball recipe is one of the best I have ever tasted so I knew it would be great for this soup recipe.
Meatball Tip: Add a little olive oil to your hands before rolling. This keeps the meatball mix from sticking and helps give them their shape.
What Kind of Greens Do you Use?
I used spinach in my wedding soup but many people use escarole or kale for extra flavor. In addition, mustard greens, swiss chard, or cabbage can be used.
Types of Pasta Used
Most Italian wedding soups have some type of small pasta. Often orzo or acini di pepe, a tiny seed-like pasta. However, I decided to use ditalini, but they all work great.
The one thing I also added was some chicken breast meat. This is not as common because you already have the meatballs but you can decide if you want to have chicken in the soup or leave it out.
If you never make it to Pittsburgh to try one of our many fabulous dishes I hope you have the chance to try making wedding soup. It's a classic that I know everyone will love.
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
- 1/2 pound chicken boneless breast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 carrots finely chopped 1/2 cup
- 1/2 sweet onion finely chopped 1 cup
- 2 ribs of celery finely chopped 1/3 cup
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1.5 cup dry ditalini pasta 4 oz
- 8 oz fresh spinach leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated Parmesan cheese to serve on the side
- 1/2 pound meatloaf mix blend of ground beef, pork and veal
- 1 egg
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- Make the meatballs by combining all ingredients and mixing just enough to combine.
- Use a teaspoon to scoop out a little of the mixture and roll it with oiled hands to make a ball.
- Set the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Set aside.
- In a large heavy saucepan saute carrots, onions, and celery in olive oil for 3 - 5 minutes or until softened.
- Add garlic and stir well.
- Add broth, pasta and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken and shred. Then add back into broth
- Add meatballs and spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts have been made to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.