Italian Wedding Soup - with a beefy twist!

The following is a guest blog post by my friend Leslie Williams--an amazing cook who is a very gracious host! I think you will enjoy her meatball soup recipe. I also believe that I will try this recipe in my electric pressure cooker during Christmas break while I have a houseful of kids home to feed! Thanks for sharing this recipe with it's "BEEF-y tweaks," Leslie!!

“No soup for you!”  The Soup Nazi, Seinfeld

I was scrolling through Facebook a couple of weeks ago and came across this recipe for an easy and quick Italian Wedding Soup from Jenny Rosenstrach in her blog, Dinner: A Love Story.   I work from home so soup is a great option to have on hand for a quick and filling lunch.  Here is Jenny’s soup with my own tweaks and tips.  Enjoy!

I’m married to the BEEFMAN (@REAL_BEEFMAN) so it’s unlikely I’ll ever make this with ground turkey but to each his/her own.  I used mild Italian pork sausage the first time I made it and it was delicious but a little salty so be sure to taste before you add the salt in the “soup” portion of the ingredient list. 

Today, I made it with ground BEEF and used BEEF broth instead of chicken broth.

For Meatballs:
  •  1 pound ground beef, pork or turkey
  •  3 tablespoons finely minced onion
  •  1 garlic clove, finely minced
  •  1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  •  1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  •  1 egg, lightly beaten
  •  1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  •  Few pinches fennel seeds
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  Freshly ground pepper
  •  few glugs olive oil

I keep plain bread crumbs in my pantry so used those and added 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning blend.
Whenever I make meatballs, I like to combine all the ingredients except the ground meat first so they are all incorporated evenly.  Then I add the ground meat, combine the mixtures and form the meatballs.
Because this is a quick cooking soup, you want to make the meatballs about the size of a walnut so they cook through and are an easy bite-size.  Add olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat and brown meatballs on all sides. They do not have to be cooked through. Remove to a large platter.

For Soup:
  •  olive oil
  •  1 carrot, finely chopped
  •  1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
  •  2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  •  salt and pepper (again, taste before adding this additional salt)
  •  8 cups beef or chicken stock (original recipe calls for 4 cups but I like having extra broth)
  •  four handfuls leafy greens such as spinach, arugula or kale
  •  1 cup bite-size cooked pasta such as ditalini or orzo (optional)
  •  Extra grated parmesan for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil, carrot, celery, onion, and salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables have softened slightly. 
Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add meatballs to the broth.
Simmer for 30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through (original recipe says 10-12 minutes but I prefer to cook longer).
Serve in bowls and stir in greens (uncooked, they’ll wilt in the hot soup), cooked pasta, and more cheese if desired. You want to pre-cook your pasta as adding uncooked pasta to the soup will cause the pasta to absorb the cooking liquid.
This soup is good with some crusty bread and an icy cold “white”… 
or with a lovely “red” as we had today for lunch. 


  1. This looks delicious and something I know my family would LOVE! I'm with you, whenever I made soups like this, I almost always pre-cook my pasta.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Renee! I know it seems like it might save time to just dump the pasta in and let it cook in the soup, but I think it is actually faster to precook it and then it is READY to eat!! With kids at home, that is really important!

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