Italian Wedding Soup

I have been wanting to make this soup for a while, and finally just decided to make it on a lazy Saturday (after I saw the collards were on clearance.) I love that the meatballs are super delicious, then you have a light chicken broth, light pasta, and green vegetables.

Ingredients for meatballs:

  • 2 slices white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
Ingredients for soup:
  • 3/4 cup tiny pasta, such as Israeli or pearl semolina couscous, orzo, or acini de pepe
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bunch collards, chard, or kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 lemon, juiced (to taste)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


In a soup pot, bring a generous amount of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the pasta. Let the water return to a boil, lower the heat, and let the pasta bubble steadily for 6 minutes, or until it is almost tender and still has a slight crunch in the middle. Drain the pasta and transfer to a bowl; set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, mix the bread pieces with the milk or water in a large bowl. Use your fingers to work the milk into the bread, like a sponge. Set aside for 10 minutes. Again, using your fingers, work the mixture until it forms a paste. Stir in the egg until incorporated.  To the bowl with the bread and egg mixture, add the remaining meatball ingredients. With a spoon or your hands, work the mixture until it is well blended.

Shape the meatball mixture into about 1 inch or smaller balls with your hands and transfer to a plate. Continue until all the mixture is used; you should have about 28 to 30 meatballs.
Add the stock and carrots to the soup pot used to cook the pasta and bring to a boil.

Use a long metal spoon to add the meatballs to the soup, several at a time.
Return the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. (I used collards, so had to add them in the very beginning.)
Add the greens to the stock pot, pressing with a soup ladle to submerge them. Add the pasta. Return to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan.

Cook for 3 minutes, or until the greens and pasta are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. (Make sure you adjust your cook time according to your greens. Something like collards or kale is going to take longer than spinach.)

Taste the broth for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, to taste. Add lemon juice. Adjust seasoning.

Ladle into bowls and serve warm (with Parmesan if available).

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