I grew up happily eating Italian Wedding Soup from the can and in bottomless bowls at East Side Mario’s (the Olive Garden of Canada) and to this day it’s still one of my favourite soups because of all the childhood nostalgia I associate with it. Recently I saw a can in the grocery store and seriously contemplated buying it for nostalgia’s sake, but when I read all the preservatives and unknown ingredients on the back, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
When I got home, I cautiously Googled how to make the soup, certain that it would be way too complex for me to pull off at home, but lo and behold, every recipe I saw actually looked pretty straightforward. I still consider this more of a weekend meal because the meatballs are time consuming to make, but this recipe yields a double batch, so you can freeze half and use them for a future weeknight soup.
RECIPE NOTES: The small pasta balls (Acini di Pepe) can be hard to find, so you can substitute in orzo, mini shells, or whatever other small pasta you like. Also, I like to boil my pasta separately so that they don’t absorb all of my nice broth (there’s nothing worse than a dry soup).
- 1 package Acini de Pepe pasta (or your favourite small pasta)
- 2 Italian sausages, uncased
- 1 package ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 carton chicken broth
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- Fresh grated parmesan, to serve
- Set a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to your preference.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop onion, parsley, and garlic until finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, combine your onion/parsley/garlic mixture with uncased sausages, pork, egg, and breadcrumbs. Knead and combine with your hands until evenly mixed.
- Shape the meat mixture into little meatballs, about the size of a quarter, and divide between two large baking sheets. Put one baking sheet into the freezer (making sure meatballs are not stuck together) and freeze for future use. Once they are frozen completely, you can put them in a large tupperware or Ziploc bag so they’re easier to store.
- Bring chicken broth to boil and add in half of your meatballs (1 baking sheet’s worth) and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked (no pink in the centre).
- Add in spinach and cooked pasta and let simmer for a couple minutes, or until spinach has wilted.
- Serve soup into bowls, and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan.