Growing up in an Italian-American household, I came to love Italian Wedding Soup when I was a child, though in my Family we called it "meatball soup." I was always perplexed, however, regarding the name of this fall-favorite soup, as I never remembered seeing it at any of the Italian weddings I had to go to, and let me tell you, there were many.

'Minestra Mariata' = Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup, "Minestra Mariata," implies a marriage of greens and meat and actually has nothing to do with actual weddings. The soup is traditionally a mix of ground beef and spinach.

While many people think of a chicken soup recipe as a fall-favorite soup, this is another option guaranteed to warm you up as the temperature drops, and it comes complete with a Sicilian heavy hand of garlic, which adds an extra health boost!


Ingredients needed (amounts can vary depending on personal taste preferences)

1 pound ground beef

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

2-3 medium garlic cloves, chopped

4 cups beef broth

1/2 carrots, chopped

2 cups water

1/3 cup acini di pepe pasta

2 cups spinach, washed and destemed

First, prepare your meatballs

In a medium mixing bowl, mix ground beef, bread crumbs*, egg, cheese, oregano, basil, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper together.

Form this mixture into tiny meatballs, about an inch all around.

Now, begin your soup

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over low heat. Once hot, place meatballs in skillet and brown. Do not cook all the way through but brown until pink is gone. Remove from heat. Rest on a paper towel-lined plate. Using the same oil (add more if necessary) return to a low heat.

Add garlic cloves and saute for three minutes. Do not let garlic turn brown.

Raise heat to medium and add one cup of the beef broth to deglaze the pan. After a couple minutes, add the remainder of the broth, carrots, salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Allow carrots to soften. Cook about ten minutes.

Taste broth. Add additional salt, pepper and/or seasonings according to your own preference. Add meatballs to the broth. Bring it back to boil and then add pasta. Do not cover. Boil 6 minutes. Add spinach and boil an additional two minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve with oven-hot Italian bread.

Serving size: 6

*Tip: Buy Italian bread crumbs so the seasoning is already mixed in!