Did you know that Italian Wedding Soup has nothing to do with weddings? I’m sorry to dispell your culinary fantasies regarding this soup, but…. Its original name in Italian is minestra maritata and it was translated to “wedding soup”, or a more appropriate translation would be “married soup”—as in green vegetables (minestra) blend very well (maritata) with meat. So the marriage isn’t a marriage between two people, but between vegetables and meat.
And, there are claims that Spaniards brought this soup to Naples, while others argue that it originated in Italy in the southern Italian region of Campania. It is believed that this soup is linked with traditional rituals such as the annual pig slaughter or Christmas and Easter celebrations.
I chose to make this recipe on our wedding anniversary – just to keep some celebration or tradition to it. This recipe is however by no means traditional as I included tomatoes and wine which aren’t typically in Italian Wedding soup recipes. And I used larger pasta that is used in most recipes. Give it a try as it is a nice hearty soup good any time of year and for any occasion.
Browning the meatballs. I made the meatballs very small, bite-sized.
You can use most any meatball recipe for this soup. A few meatball recipes I’ve posted work well: My Most Favorite Italian Meatballs, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Homemade Sausage (formed into meatballs). And if time is of the essence, a pre-made meatball from the market would be okay (did I really say that?).
- 1 1/4 cups carrots, diced 1/4-inch
- 1 1/4 cups yellow onion, diced
- 3/4 cup 1/4-inch celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced (1 1/2 tablespoon)
- 4 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups tomatoes
- t teaspoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup wine
- 1 1/2 cup small pasta (dilanti, acini de pepe or orzo)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 oz fresh spinach
- Finely shredded parmesan
- Cook meatballs from scratch (see post for meatball recipes)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until veggies have softened (about 6 - 8 minutes). Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
- Pour in chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and season soup with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs, reduce heat to light boil (about medium or medium-low).
- Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender and meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes, while adding in spinach during the last minute of cooking. Serve warm, sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.