Week 5: Italian Wedding Soup

A bowl of Italian Wedding soup with meatballs, pasta, escarole and other veggies.
This week's recipe is perfect for a snowy afternoon. Italian Wedding soup can be made with a variety of ingredients but usually has a base of meatballs, pasta and escarole, a bitter leafy green. If you can't find escarole, try substituting with kale, spinach or another bitter green.

January 21, 2014

Soup pots on stoveTiny meatballs, chicken broth, escarole and more in this old-time recipe from my husband's grandmother. Serve soup with grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top. Make a big batch - it freezes well!

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

Source: My husband's Grandmother, Esther


  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 to 10 basil leaves, chopped fine (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion (or 1/2 tsp. onion powder)
  • 12 cups chicken broth (or two 46 oz. cans)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2 medium-size heads escarole, washed well and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup orzo or pastine (acini de pepe)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to serve


  1. In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Meanwhile make the meatballs, chop the carrot and wash, slice and drain the escarole.
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  3. In a medium bowl, combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, 1 Tbsp. Parmesan, basil and onion. Meat should be a little more "wet" than dry. Mix well. Roll meat into 1/2 inch (or smaller) balls and set on a plate.
  4. Add meatballs slowly to the chicken broth, stirring occasionally so they don't stick together. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the carrot, then escarole and lower to a slow boil.
  5. When escarole is limp, add the orzo. Cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is tender.

Note: Make the meatballs by pinching off small pieces. This is the time consuming part, the rest is a breeze. Esther said great pride was taken in making them very small! Wet hands make rolling them easier. TIP: Escarole is sandy. Make sure you wash well, drain and shake off excess water.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 555 Posts
January 25, 20141 found this helpful

It's been snowing and cold here all week so I decided to make this soup. I used 12 chicken boullion cubes and 12 cups water in a crockpot and a large can of turnip greens since I was too lazy to leave the house to buy escarole and it turned out great!


I even added some zucchini cut small to get more veggies in us! This is a keeper!


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
February 4, 20190 found this helpful

This looks so good. I've never made Italian Wedding soup like this one. Can't wait!

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