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Wednesday 22 January 2014

Sluttishly Savoury: Italian Wedding Soup

Guys. GUYS. Listen. I've got something to tell you. This Italian Wedding Soup is the best soup I have ever eaten in my WHOLE LIFE. It's meaty, cheesy, herby and carby, and I'm already looking forward to my next bowlful (I finished one about ten minutes before sitting down to write this).

Let's clear up the name before we go any further - it's not called Italian Wedding Soup because it's served at Italian weddings (although you could definitely serve it at a wedding). In Italian, minestra maritata is so-called because the ingredients work so well together. Meat marries veg marries pasta marries cheese marries egg in a polyamorous love affair of epically tasty proportions. 

If you like your soup clear, omit the egg and parmesan combo at the end of the recipe. I'd strongly recommend that you don't omit it, though, because it lends a creamy, cheesy, velvety quality to the soup.  

Italian Wedding Soup (serves about 8)
You will need:

For the meatballs
  • 500g turkey mince (you could use pork or even beef, but my preference is for turkey. Also: cheap)
  • 60g panko breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh (chopped) or dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
For the soup
  • A glug of olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 litres chicken stock (I used four Knorr Stock Pots in 2 litres of boiling water - use fresh stock if you prefer/have it to hand)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g soup pasta (I used farfalline - little bow ties - but any kind is fine. Orzo would work well, as would acini di pepe - little peppercorns of pasta)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 200g fresh spinach
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 50g grated parmesan
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the mince, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, rosemary, oregano, parmesan, milk, beaten egg, and salt and pepper with your hands until everything has combined. Make balls about 1 inch in diameter and place them on a baking tray. Pop into the oven for about 30 minutes, turning once during the cooking time.
  3. Meanwhile, make the soup. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion, leek, garlic, chilli flakes, and oregano until soft. Add the stock and the bay leaf and bring to a simmer. 
  4. Add the soup pasta and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until soft. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Once the meatballs are done, add them to the soup, followed a minute or two later by the spinach. Stir well, allowing the spinach to wilt, and remove the bay leaf. 
  6. Mix the 2 beaten eggs with the parmesan, and pour into the soup, stirring constantly so you don't end up with a solid lump of egg. 
  7. Serve hot - with all that pasta, you probably won't need bread on the side, but it certainly won't do any harm to have some on hand.
The soup can be reheated, but do be aware that it solidifies somewhat. I had it for lunch as soup, and for dinner as more of a pasta dish. Both were completely amazing. If you'd rather keep it soupy, simply heat it gently on the stove with a little more chicken stock - or even plain boiling water - to liquefy it. 


  1. This looks AMAZING! I'm following Slimming World but I reckon I can make it weight loss friendly with a couple of tweaks :)

  2. I had this years ago and fell in love with it so much! Been looking for a good recipe since so THANK YOU!

  3. Reckon that's tomorrow sorted, thanks.

    Instead of panko+dried herbs, try a decent dried stuffing mix. I'm a Sainbury's gal and so recommend their Taste the Difference range - 1 pack for 1lb/500g mince/skinned sausages (obvs mixed in dry!).


  4. I love this soup - in fact I made some last week! Adding the egg and cheese mixture at the end must turn it up to 11, though, I'll definitely be doing that from now on.

    1. Erm... you didn't think to mention this soup to anyone? YOU SECRET SOUP HOARDER.

  5. Made this and its divine! Thanks Laura B!

  6. Made this last night for me and my best mate. Used skinned sausages instead of turkey mince, and broken up spaghetti instead of soup pasta (which proved impossible to procure in our corner of S London). Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Gutted no leftovers.


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