I dare not show up at Christmas dinner without this soup! Not everyone understands the magnitude of Italian Wedding Soup. It’s one of those things Italian Americans understand quite well. This easy, from-scratch, One Pot Authentic Homemade Italian Wedding Soup recipe will make you think your Italian great grandmother made it. It’s better than restaurant soup and way better than canned soup!
Plus, it’s a great remedy for winter colds because of the homemade chicken broth. It’s a sore throat’s solution. Plus, who can resist the cute, little tiny meatballs whether you’re sick or not?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means, if you make a purchase, I’ll receive a very small commission which helps with blog expenses so you can continue to receive FREE recipes but, the price you pay is the same.
Answers to Your Italian Wedding Soup Questions:
Is Italian Wedding Soup Really Italian?
It sure is! This Neopolitan soup’s proper Italian name is “Minestra Maritata.” My parents were born and raised in Naples area of Italy where this wonderful traditional soup originated. This Italian Wedding Soup recipe is the “REAL DEAL!” It’s an authentic Italy Wedding Soup recipe! It really is!
I have fond childhood memories of eating this delicious soup on Christmas day and at other celebrations. It was always served after the antipasto course and before the pasta course. I’ll never forget those 10 course special occasion dinners. This soup was always one of the courses. My mother was an incredible Italian cook! I loved her delicious unparalleled home cooking!
One Pot Homemade Italian Wedding Soup
Can I Use Spinach Instead of Escarole?
Not a fan of escarole? Use spinach (fresh or frozen.) It works just as well. Or, you can use fresh kale.
What kind of pasta
What Pasta to Use for Italian Wedding Soup
If you choose to add pasta to this soup, you want to use a very small pasta type. Use Acini di Pepe, Pastina or Orzo. You don’t want to use wide egg noodles or they’ll get tangled up with the escarole but, it’s not a crime if that’s all you have.
Is Pastina the Same as Acini di Pepe?
No. Pastina is small pasta in the shape of stars and is mostly used for children. Acini di Pepe are rounded pasta “drops” and is more commonly used in Italian Wedding Soup if pasta is added.
Can I Freeze Italian Wedding Soup?
YES! I make a big pot of Italian Wedding soup every Christmas and bring a large quantity to my mother-in-law’s house and I keep the rest for my family while freezing a good bit of it. However, I don’t add the pasta for our Christmas meal because the pasta makes the soup more filling and we have so much more food to come after the soup course.
Italian Wedding Soup is a great soup to eat when you are sick with a cold and have a sore throat. As a matter of fact, I like to have some on hand in my freezer in the winter months for this very purpose.
What Do I Do With the Leftover Chicken?
When you stew the chicken, you will have left over chicken that you can use to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta, One Pot Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder or Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken Bites Appetizer. Make chicken salad or chicken wraps for lunch.
Making this soup is not difficult but, it can take some time if you are stewing the chicken which, I highly recommend. But, you can certainly use canned chicken broth if you want to make the soup quickly. See other substitutions below.
One Pot Homemade Italian Wedding Soup
How to Make One Pot Authentic Homemade Italian Wedding Soup
*The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post. Tip: Read all of the instructions first before starting!
Italian Wedding Soup (a.k.a. Holiday Soup a.k.a. Escarole Soup) is made by stewing a whole chicken to make homemade chicken broth then adding escarole, celery, onions, and carrots, mini meatballs and chicken bits. This authentic Italian chicken soup will make you turn your nose up to canned soup.
- 3-4 lb whole stewing chicken (take out any bags inside cavity)
- 1 gallon of water or more
Vegetables for soup:
- 1 head of fresh escarole cleaned and chopped (or 6 oz fresh spinach or 10 oz frozen spinach)
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 cup of chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- First, remove any of the chicken parts that are stored in the cavity of the whole chicken, such as giblets, neck, liver, etc.
- Then, boil the water in a large stock pot. Add the whole chicken and cook/stew on high heat for one hour.
- Skip down to next step to prepare meatballs while the chicken is stewing. When chicken is done cooking, remove chicken from pot and let rest. Salt the chicken stock in the pot to taste. Start with 2 tbs of salt if you are unsure. Taste the chicken broth and add water to it until it tastes good to you.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Mix well. Put back in the refrigerator until the chicken stock is ready (chicken is removed from water after stewing.)
- Then, after the chicken has been removed from the pot, add all of the vegetables to the chicken stock and continue to boil. Use a food processor and this will take seconds!
- Next, start rolling the meatballs into 1 inch diameter balls and place them directly into the chicken stock while the vegetables are cooking in the chicken stock.
- Then, add the pasta to the soup if you choose to add it.
- Next, chop about one cup of the chicken (white or dark meat, whichever you prefer) and add it to the soup. Continue to heat on high covered until all of the meat and pastina has been added for about 10 minutes.
Using a food processor will make this Italy Wedding Soup recipe go much faster and it’s any home cook’s time saver! The one below is from Amazon (affiliate) and reasonably priced too! It makes a great gift for a beginner cook!
Italian Wedding Soup Substitutions:
- Use canned chicken broth instead of homemade but, homemade will taste much better!
- Spinach (fresh or frozen) or fresh kale can be used instead of escarole.
- Use Pastina, Orzo or Acini di Peppe or omit pasta altogether.
Look here for more authentic Italian recipes! You need to check out my Authentic Italian Meatballs & Gravy! They’re easy and have both stove top and slow cooker instructions! Make them for your next party!
More Tasty Soup Recipes from No Plate Like Home:
This is our most popular post. This tasty One Pot, Ham Potato and Bean soup is made with a leftover ham bone and chicken stock with white beans, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and ham. Any time I have a leftover ham bone, I make this soup because it never disappoints. It freezes well too.
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A delicious one pot authentic Italian Wedding Soup that is perfect for Christmas dinner or anytime.
- 3-4 lb whole stewing chicken or a whole fryer
- 1 gallon and 1 pint of water
- 1 head of escarole washed and chopped or 6 oz fresh chopped spinach or 10 oz frozen
- 2 ribs of celery chopped or diced
- 1 cup of baby carrots or 1 carrot chopped or diced
- 1/2 medium onion chopped or diced
- 3/4 cup of Acini di Peppe pasta uncooked (optional)
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Italian style seasoned bread crumbs
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup of finely diced onions
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
First, remove any of the chicken parts that are stored in the cavity of the whole chicken, such as giblets, neck, liver, etc.
Next, boil the water in a large stock pot. Add the whole chicken and cook/stew on high heat for one hour.
Skip down to next step to prepare meatballs while the chicken is stewing. When chicken is done cooking, remove chicken from pot and let rest. Salt the chicken stock in the pot to taste. Start with 2 tbs of salt if you are unsure. Taste the chicken broth and add water to it until it tastes good to you.
Mini meatballs: In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Mix well. Put back in the refrigerator until the chicken stock is ready (chicken is removed from water after stewing.)
Next, after the chicken has been removed from the pot, add all of the vegetables to the chicken stock and continue to boil.
Then, begin rolling the meatballs into 1 inch diameter balls and place them directly into the chicken stock while the vegetables are cooking in the chicken stock.
Next, add the pasta to the soup if you choose to add it.
Then, chop about one cup of the chicken (white or dark meat, whichever you prefer) and add it to the soup. Continue to heat on high covered until all of the meat and pasta has been added for about 10 minutes.
- While the chicken is stewing, you may prepare the vegetables and meatballs.
- The cooking time includes 15 minutes to boil water, which is time you can use to prep the vegetables.
- The soup cooks for about 30 minutes after the chicken stock is made or how long it takes you to roll the last meatball and 10 minutes longer.
You may add one cup of Pastina (pasta stars) or Acini di Pepe into the soup at the point in which the meatballs are being added.
- Store this soup in the refrigerator after it has cooled. If you put it directly in the refrigerator while hot, it may SPOIL!
- Refrigerate up to 5 days.
- This soup freezes well. Freeze up to 6 months.