A brilliant name, for a brilliant soup. My kids are absolutely crazy about this soup and, therefore, are always quite willing to help make the meatballs 😉
The Italian name for this soup is ‘Minestra Maritata’ which literally means ‘Married Soup’. Historically, it has nothing to do with weddings, but refers to the harmonious marriage of flavors of the meat and the vegetables. Nevertheless, the name makes me smile and somehow keeps me daydreaming while preparing….
For the meatballs:
500g good-quality minced meat of your choice (veal/chicken/turkey/beef)
50g fresh white bread crumbs
50g grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tbs. milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, peeled and cut into ½cm (¼inch) pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½cm (¼inch) pieces
340g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
2 handfuls small pasta such as orzo, stars, tubetti
2.5L chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. or 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the minced meat, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, milk and egg in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into little meatballs (about 3 cm or 1¼ inch). They don’t have to be perfectly round.
Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, and then turn. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until meatballs are cooked through and lightly browned. If you’re not sure, cut one in half to check. Set aside when done.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery and gently fry without coloring for about 10 minutes or until softened.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the pasta and simmer for another 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Taste if it needs more seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 2 minutes, until the spinach is just wilted.
Serve the Italian Wedding Soup in big bowls with grated Parmesan cheese
Bon Appetite 😉
P.S. pasta keeps soaking up the liquid after cooking. If you are not going to eat it immediately you could cook the pasta separately and add as much as you like when serving.