Coming from Rhode Island, a very ethnic state, this soup was traditionally served at Italian weddings. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
30 mins
total:
50 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In medium bowl, combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil and onion powder; shape into 3/4 inch balls.

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  • In large saucepan, heat broth to boiling; stir in escarole, orzo pasta, chopped carrot and meatballs. Return to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook at slow boil for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Nutrition Facts

416 calories; protein 27.3g 55% DV; carbohydrates 43.3g 14% DV; fat 14.2g 22% DV; cholesterol 86.8mg 29% DV; sodium 1211mg 48% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (750)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2006
After reading everyone elses reviews this is what I did to make the best Italian wedding soup I've EVER tasted. First I used about 7 cups of broth. 6 cups of chicken broth, 1 can of beef broth. The beef broth DEFINITELY adds that extra punch this soup needs. Definitely only use 1/2 cup of orzo, and boil in a seperate pot. I threw some green onions in. With the 7 cups of broth, it was enough for 4 people, + 1 days leftovers, which you'll definitely want! Next time I'll bake the meatballs before hand to get some of the grease off. Read More
(1108)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
08/29/2002
I found this soup bland. Moreover, the amount of orzo the recipe asks for is excessive. If the soup is not eaten immediately the orzo absorbs all the liquid. The end result is anything but a soup. Read More
(60)
977 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 702
  • 4 star values: 212
  • 3 star values: 35
  • 2 star values: 16
  • 1 star values: 12
Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2006
After reading everyone elses reviews this is what I did to make the best Italian wedding soup I've EVER tasted. First I used about 7 cups of broth. 6 cups of chicken broth, 1 can of beef broth. The beef broth DEFINITELY adds that extra punch this soup needs. Definitely only use 1/2 cup of orzo, and boil in a seperate pot. I threw some green onions in. With the 7 cups of broth, it was enough for 4 people, + 1 days leftovers, which you'll definitely want! Next time I'll bake the meatballs before hand to get some of the grease off. Read More
(1108)
Rating: 4 stars
11/11/2006
My late grandmother came from the Old country, and I've used this recipe as a basis for replicating her recipe, but a few adjustments are critical. First, the pasta must be cooked separately; otherwise, it thickens and ruins the soup. If you don't plan on leftovers, the pasta can be cooked in the soup, but you need to go easy on the amount of pasta. She always preferred alphabet pasta. Second, she always used either ground turkey or chicken for the meatballs. Also, you need to take it easy on the spices in the meatballs because they can easily overpower the milder flavor of poultry. (By the way, why would anyone use ground beef in a chicken stock--it doesn't make sense, not to mention it isn't authentic.) Third, she used celery in her recipe. I add a couple of stalks, finely diced. I also up the amount of carrots. Finally, for an added touch, she always had hard-boiled eggs available for individuals to add, as they chose. It enriches the flavor and texture. This recipe is very good--with these few tweaks. Thanks for sharing it. Read More
(714)
Rating: 4 stars
05/23/2006
I made a few changes to this recipe: - Reduce pasta to 1/2 cup (You can use orzo, small shells, ditalini, orecchiette...) - Brown meatballs in a little olive oil and drain before adding to soup. (Gives meatballs better color and flavor, and makes soup less greasy!) - I increased carrots to 1/2 cup, and sauteed with 1/2 cup onion in a little olive oil to start. I always saute vegetables in soup pot first, before adding broth. (Again, better flavor.) - I use spinach or escarole; both are yummy! Read More
(413)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/05/2003
Excellent soup!! I made this last weekend for lunch, and it was so good that I had to have it for dinner too! I made a few minor adjustments to it. For the meatballs, I used 1/2 lb grnd pork, 1/2 lb. grnd beef, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp steak spice and 1 tbsp worchester sauce and froze the rest of meatballs for next batch. I also browned the meatballs before adding them to the soup. I increased the carrots to 1/2 cup, and decreased the pasta (acini di pepe) to 1/2 cup. The pasta soaks up alot of liquid, so I cooked it separately and added it when the soup was finished cooking. I'm definitely making this one again, and recommending it to others! Read More
(151)
Rating: 5 stars
02/03/2004
Delicious! Easy to make! Wonderful~ I followed the advice of others: 1. Make pasta separately (Acini de Pepe instead of orzo) 2. Baked the meatballs at 350 for 25 minutes 3. Used frozen spinach (I had some on hand) I also added some celery as well as some onion, garlic and zucchini that I had sauteed in olive oil. (also other people's suggestions) It was a nice touch but I think I will skip it next time and stick with the original recipe. Read More
(104)
Rating: 5 stars
07/23/2003
I subbed in frozen chopped spinach for the escarole-this was delicious and easy! Read More
(94)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/11/2003
This was fabulous! I made it for co-workers and they loved it! I did take the advice of so many and did sub acini di pepe for the orzo, a bag of baby spinach for the escarole, baked the meatballs ahead of time, and added a small boiled and diced chicken breast. It was unbelievably good! I even did it all ahead of time, kept things separated, and then put it all in the crock pot to heat through for lunch. Thanks for the recipe Star!!! Read More
(91)
Rating: 5 stars
12/07/2009
I am the chef at a sports bar and grill in Dania Beach, Florida. My clientele consists not only of local residents but tourists from around the world. I am expected to prepare extraordinary soups and specials on a daily basis...on a limited budget with limited time. My ratings are based on customer response...so take them seriously. I have earned the reputation as the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld lol). You MUST MUST MUST let this soup rest overnight before serving to let the flavors fuse together. The first time I made this soup I cooked the orzo seperately, browned the meatballs but thought the broth was bland. I doctored it with basil, garlic and oregano but my shift ended and I gave up trying to fix the soup. When I came to work the next day the soup had sold out...a gallon of soup in 3 hours during a 90 degree Florida heatwave. I now make this regularly, I still doctor the broth but let the soup sit overnite with the meatballs so the basil infuses. I use fresh spinach instead of escarole and make the meatballs the size of my pinky nail so that there are plenty of them. This soup tastes good, looks good and will get you rave reviews. Read More
(67)
Rating: 3 stars
08/29/2002
I found this soup bland. Moreover, the amount of orzo the recipe asks for is excessive. If the soup is not eaten immediately the orzo absorbs all the liquid. The end result is anything but a soup. Read More
(60)