Chicken Meatball Escarole Soup

Saturday, April 30, 2011
One of our favorite soups we make often without a wedding going on is called 
"Wedding Soup "
The term "wedding soup" is a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata ("married soup"), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meat go well together. Some form of minestra maritata was long popular in Toledo, Spain before pasta became an affordable commodity to most Spaniards, though the modern wedding soup is quite a bit lighter than the old Spanish form, which contained a large variety of meat, rather than just the meatballs of modern
Italian-American versions

 6 to 8 boneless chicken legs or thighs (grandma also would use the chuck roast beef bone from a leftover Sunday sauce whatever she had leftover in meat made it's way into the pot! Grandma  had to be very frugal as money was tight in those days)

Optional: In a hurry use a leftover rotisserie chicken taken off the bone already cooked!
5 quart saucepan
1 cup of acini de pepe pasta (boiled  in salted water seperately)
1 cup finger carrots
1 bunch escarole chopped washed and boiled for 1/2 hour to make sure all dirt particle are out, drain and set aside. I only use escarole in my soup.

NOTE: As you read greens are your preference (you can use any greens you desire, 1 pound broccoli rabe, 2 pounds chicory, 1 pound green cabbage, collard greens, spinach etc..) There are really no  real rules, just greens and meat!

1 cup finely chopped celery
2 fresh plum tomatoes pulsed in food processor left a little chunky or leftover Sunday sauce around 1/2 cup.
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, basil and oregano
1/4 teaspoon each of thyme and rosemary
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
grating cheese for garnish

Fill pot with water around 3 1/2 quarts, add chicken and boil skimming off the top as it cooks. When broth is clear around 30 minutes of cooking time, remove chicken, cool, cut up in chunks, put back in the pot. Add escarole, herbs, spices, tomatoes, rest of vegetables and boil till tender. When the soup is a full boil, drop raw meatballs into boiling soup.  Add boiled pasta at the end.

Meatball mixture for soup:
In a bowl mix below ingredients together and set aside
1 cup of  ground beef. turkey or pork
2 tablespoons grating cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoon Italian flavored bread crumbs
Mix all together and drop raw small balls,  into soup while boiling.

In the United States, Italian wedding soup is most prevalent in northeastern Ohio and in western Pennsylvania. Italian descendants believe the wedding soup gives energy to a newly married couple, symbolically representing a long sustainable wedding.


  1. This soup looks very appetizing dear, rich and healthy at the sime time. I'd like to try it. Bye bye, have a good we

  2. When I saw the title on your post I immediately thought "wedding soup". I've never made it, but Safeway sells a pretty good version of it.

  3. wedding soup is one of my favorites, the vegetables, chicken broth and meatballs married together is such a great flavor so I know this soup is too.... thanks for sharing ...hope all is well is so fl

  4. Funny how names come to be, in foods. Funnier still is how the meaning is changed, as time goes by. This soup looks so delicious, and a great way to use up those legs. thanks.

  5. Italian wedding soup is the bomb. These meatballs are huge and wants me to eat them.

  6. i just had a chinese style chicken soup then!

    but this looks great in meatball form italian style!!!!

  7. I love how this is made with chicken meatballs - this is indeed one of my favorite soups and you have provided a lightened but still robust version of it - perfect for our rainy, chilly day.

  8. Italian wedding soup looks delicious and filling.

  9. This soup looks very hearty! I always love soups that allow you room to experiment with different options. Peas or even spinach could work nicely in this context, maybe even potatoes.
    ~Nancy Lewis~

  10. Looks so warm and inviting!! Lots of veggies too... perfect for a cold rainy day :)

  11. I really like Italian wedding soup! This looks super delicious as well. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Yum! This is one of my husbands favorite childhood soups. I've never tried to make it, maybe I will now :-)

  13. This is one of our favorite soups. I've tried different versions from the family recipe--one notable one from Ina that used sausage for the meatballs--but have never made one with tomatoes in it. I'll have to try that in the future. Acini de pepe is my pasta of choice, too.

  14. Just greens and meat, I love it. This is homestyle at it's best Claudia!

  15. Very interesting. I had no idea about the origination of wedding soup. Either way, your's looks delicious!

  16. First of all thanks for explaining how this "italian wedding soup" name came about ... I've been wondering about it for a while. Having said that your soup looks lovely ... just the right thing if the cold weather returns again.

  17. Such a flavourful soup, this one looks fabulous! Thank you for the soup lesson, married flavours...makes complete sense. This would have warmed me up today!!

  18. I just love this soup! And the idea of putting a chuck roast bone in the stock is wonderful..just more flavor! Great post, Claudia!

  19. Thank you for the explanation of how Italian Wedding Soup was named. I thought that it was the soup the they ate "Italian Weddings." Obviously, I'm not Italian, but I love the soup. Now I have a recipe and a story!

    thank you for sharing!

  20. Oh that bowl of soup looks delicious!! It reminds me of something that my mom would serve, and that's a great thing! :)

  21. Wedding soup is one of my favorites. I've only made it once and it was a flop. I'm blaming the recipe. ;)
    I like that I can use any green in this recipe. Sounds very comforting!

  22. I cannot wait to try this. Chicken meatballs and lots of vegetables, thanks for sharing..

  23. chicken is my yummy testy food. They looking is beautiful. surrogacy in india

  24. Very comforting mug of soup, ideal for chilly spring evenings!


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia