Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs

I always imagined that this was the soup Italians ate at weddings…..didn’t you? I’ve been married to an Italian for 6 years and have never seen it at any wedding or other celebration for that matter. Turns out the name is derived from the ingredients that meld and marry to create this sublime soup. While I used spinach in this recipe because I always have it on hand, feel free to sub in other greens like kale or chard. Let’s talk about the meatballs. While beef or pork are completely acceptable in Wedding Soup, these mini chicken meatballs with a hint of lemon are perfection. Wait until the end to add salt and pepper and finish it off with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

1 egg

1/2 cup Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 garlic clove grated

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup Italian parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil for frying

Soup

6 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 carrot chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

1/2 onion finely chopped

3 garlic cloves grated

1 300 gram package frozen spinach thawed

1/2 cup Orzo pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Lemon juice (optional)

Directions

For the chicken meatballs:

Combine all ingredients together well using your hands or a mixer using the paddle attachment. The meatballs should be about the size of a large gumball. Wetting your hands will make it easier to work with. Once all your meat balls are formed, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick frying pan. Add meatballs in batches taking care to not over crowd your pan. Brown the meatballs for about 1 minute then turn them over. They don’t have to be cooked through. Repeat with remaining balls adding more oil if needed. Set aside.

*if you feel you have more meatballs then you need, you can cook them through and freeze them. Just add the frozen meatballs to your favourite soup or sauce.

For the soup:

In a large pot add oil, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chilli flakes. Sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes until veggies are translucent. Stir frequently as you don’t want them to brown. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil then add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes. Add Chicken meatballs and spinach and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and add a squeeze of lemon if you like.