Mom's and My Italian Wedding Soup

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Soups & Salads | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


3 pounds whole chicken broiler/fryer
3 stalks celery
3 mediums carrots
2 smalls onions
1 head escarole
1 teaspoon/cube chicken bouillon
1/2 pound meatloaf mix (ground pork, beef,
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese, plus extra to garnish


Place chicken in a Dutch oven, and cover with 4½ cups of water.
Add cut-up veggies (1 onion, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot ― all unpeeled, for added flavor).
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, skim the foam, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Cool about 10 minutes.
Drain the veggies out of the broth; discard the veggies and keep the broth.
Remove chicken meat from bone and cut up.
Skim fat from broth. Yield will be approximately 3 cups cut-up chicken and 3 cups broth.
Cook 1 cup of Acine de Pepe to “al dente” according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Cut 2 stalks of celery, 2 medium carrots, and 1 small onion into bite-size pieces.
Clean one head of escarole and cook in a little water until wilted. Cool, squeeze out excess water, and cut up.
Begin preparing the meatballs by mixing together: meatloaf mix, bread crumbs, egg, ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder, and 1 T. grated cheese.
Begin compiling the soup by adding enough water to the broth to measure 5 cups.
Heat broth, celery, onion, carrots, and chicken bouillon to boiling.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in cut-up chicken.
Set back to boiling, add raw meatballs (¼ tsp. per meatball), and simmer another 10 minutes.
Add in cut-up escarole and cooked Acine de Pepe.
If soup is too thick, add two or three cans of chicken broth to thin out.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little grated Romano cheese.




Lillian Markov's picture

Now I can make this soup because my daughter loves to eat this soup!!! Thanks!!


So I got a little “flack” from a longtime friend about choosing a microwave popcorn recipe as my first “Mangia, Figlie” recipe. Besides being a super-easy and great-tasting recipe that I wanted to share with my readers, I also meant it to be lighthearted. And several of you who tried it said you appreciated that I shared it. So my mission was accomplished, right? Well, not quite.

To prove I do mean business in the kitchen, I’m going to share something a little more involved ― a recipe I make frequently and am asked to share often: Italian Wedding Soup.

I can’t quite remember the first time I ate Italian Wedding Soup. I don’t ever remember eating it at either grandmother’s house or at any of my aunts’ houses. I don’t remember it fondly from my childhood dinner table, and I know I didn’t eat any when we traveled to Italy in 1977. (There I ate tortellini in chicken broth for 16 days straight. I was 12 ― that’s the only explanation I can offer for that.) So even though I can’t remember the precise moment this culinary gem entered my life, it did indeed enter at some point, and boy is my son glad it did!

Sure, there are dozens of recipes for Italian Wedding Soup ― just do a Google search and see for yourself. What little I’ve been able to uncover pertaining to the origin of my recipe, however, is that it appears to have originated in the south of Italy. Which of course makes sense ― we are from Calabria, so at some point, the recipe must have been passed down.

In Italian, the dish is called Minestra Maritata ― “minestra” meaning “soup” and “maritata” meaning “married.” It gets its name not because it is served at Italian weddings (like many Americans think), but because the soup is the marriage of its ingredients. Let me explain.

To achieve the proper layers of flavor and the right soup consistency, you must follow each step of the cooking process with purpose. For instance, the recipe calls for Acine de Pepe pasta, which is boiled separately from the soup, then added later on. This step is important, because if you boil the pasta in the soup, the starch from the pasta will thicken it ... and that will alter your end product (in my opinion, in a very bad way).

In fact, the process here is to prepare each and every ingredient separately, then “marry” them all at the end ― Minestra Maritata. (“Ah-ha! Now it is making sense,” you say!)

And while we’re talking technique, let’s talk about another important ingredient ― the meatballs. They are to be made small ... exceptionally small ... I mean, Barbie small. Here’s a little hint: when you are forming them, just when you think they are small enough, split them in half again ... and then one more time. The recipe says ¼ teaspoon per meatball ― that’s about right.

I would credit my mom for this recipe, but I must tell you: after a recent batch I shared with her, she asked for my recipe. Since she taught me the technique and I somehow, unknowingly, mastered it, I henceforth credit this to both of us, proving that sometimes it takes generations to achieve perfection. Perfetto.


4 servings


Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 4:49pm


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