Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe with Leeks
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This Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe with Leeks is a great recipe for hearty and warming Italian Wedding Soup, with the added flavor and texture of chopped leeks. Made with all the classics (and a few new additions), this satisfying soup with homemade meatballs is always a crowd pleaser.
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Best Italian Wedding Soup!
This hearty and flavor packed Italian Wedding Soup is easy to make any night of the week, and just what you need on a cold winter night. With loads of homemade mini meatballs, tender escarole and leeks, and plenty of pasta, you can’t go wrong.
Top this soup with a healthy serving of fresh grated parmesan, and serve alongside a hunk of crusty bread for a comforting and flavorful meal the whole family will enjoy.
What goes into the Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe?
Making the mini meatballs
The homemade meatballs really make this soup shine. Not only can you control the flavor and texture, but you can also control their cooking method. To make them, you’ll need:
- Ground pork. I like to use an 80/20 blend. You could also use ground chicken for a lower fat option.
- Grated parmesan cheese. Hand grated or pre grated- whatever you have on hand.
- Regular breadcrumbs. You’ll use a small amount of these to help bind the meatballs and keep them moist.
- One large egg, a meatball mix staple- the keep everything together.
- Chopped fresh parsley. Mince this well, so it is evenly incorporated into the meatballs.
- Dried oregano, garlic powder, and dried thyme.
- Salt and fresh ground pepper. Season throughout for best results. Always be tasting!
- Extra virgin olive oil, for browning the meatballs. This is key for the soups flavor. All that rich browning makes for a SOUPER flavorful and delicious broth.
Tips for perfect meatballs
The best way to make these pork mini meatballs is with your hands! Get in there and get all the ingredients well mixed, but be gentle- over mixing can result in some tough meatballs. This meatball recipe is forgiving, however- as the meatballs with simmer for about 20 minutes after they are browned, making them super tender.
What is the best Italian wedding soup pasta?
I love classic Acini de pepe pasta for this recipe. Acini de pepe pasta is Italian for “little peppercorns. The pasta is shaped like tiny little beads, and ensures every bite has some delicious little pasta in it!
If you don’t have Acini de pepe pasta on hand, or would rather a larger pasta shape, you could also use orzo, ditalini, or small shell pasta.
What tools do I need to make the soup?
Here are some key/great tools to have on hand when making this Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe:
- A good soup pot, or dutch oven. This recipe makes a lot of soup, so you’ll need a larger pot to make it.
- A large mixing bowl, for easily mixing the meatballs.
- A sharp knife and garlic press, for preparing the ingredients.
- A sheet pan, for laying the raw meatballs on prior to browning them.
- A large frying pan for browning the meatballs. I prefer non stick or cast iron for this step.
Tips for making the best Italian Wedding Soup
- Prep all your ingredients in advance. Make sure to chop your veggies, and set up all the ingredients nearby so you’r ready to go.
- Make up all the meatballs prior to browning, and transfer them to a large baking sheet as you go.
- Use a tsp to measure the meatballs to make sure they are uniform and nice and small. Gently form them with your hands so they aren’t overworked.
- Use a large soup pot or dutch oven, so you’ve got plenty of room.
- Multitask: start your veggies in the soup pot while you’re browning the meatballs to save time.
- Use fresh, high quality ingredients. Make sure your leeks and escarole are firm and fresh, and well cleaned. Use high quality ground pork and chicken stock.
Looking for more great soup recipes?
Soup season is 365 days for me. If you’re a soup nut like me, you’ll love these delicious recipes:
- Easy Green Lentil Soup
- Italian Minestrone Soup
- Easy Potato Soup with Smoked Gouda
- Ham and Bean Soup with Dumplings
- Chorizo Chicken Taco Soup
- Creamy Orzo Soup with Chicken and Bacon
- Escarole Soup with Barley and Parmesan
- Chicken Tortellini Soup with Leeks
- Instant Pot Chicken Gnocchi Soup with Mushrooms
- Instant Pot Tuscan Sausage, Farro and White Bean Soup
Variations and substitutions
Here are some great ways to use what you have on hand, or adjust this soup to make it your own:
- Substitute the Acini de pepe pasta for orzo, mini shells, or ditalini pasta. I prefer a smaller pasta for this recipe, but these are all great options!
- Try ground chicken instead of ground pork.
- Use some baby spinach or kale instead of escarole.
- Try fresh herbs to replace the dried ones. Jus adjust to use a bit less, as they will be a bit more potent then their dried counterparts.
- Try shallots, onion or green onion instead of the leeks.
- Use fresh grated bread in place of the breadcrumbs in your meatballs.
Serving the Italian Wedding Soup
This soup is great as it is, but I am a HUGE fan of parmesan cheese, and I think a healthy sprinkle on top of a hot bowl of this soup is HEAVEN. I love to pair this hearty soup with some crusty bread and butter, garlic bread, or biscuits. A nice and light green salad is another great pairing.
After this soup is cooled, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I would not recommend freezing this soup if you add the pasta, as it will swell and not reheat well. If you intend to freeze this soup, leave the pasta out, and add it pre cooked to your broth when serving. The soup without the pasta can be frozen for up to 2 months.
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Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe with Leeks
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for browning
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 leeks, cleaned, dark parts removed, cut into think slices
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 head of escarole, roughly chopped
- 8 cups (2 quarts) chicken stock
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 2 tsp bouillon paste)
- 1 parmesan rind
- 1 cup acini de pepe pasta
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- grated parmesan, for serving
- 1. Make the meatballs: Add ground pork, parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients with your hands until they just come together. 2. Use a teaspoon to measure out small meatballs, and roll them gently into balls with your hands. Transfer them to a large baking dish and continue until all meatballs are formed. 3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, and brown meatballs in batches, 2-3 minutes a side, until well browned. Transfer to a plate, and continue until all meatballs are browned. 4. Make the soup: Heat an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium low heat, 5. Add carrots, celery, and leeks, and season with salt and pepper. 6. Cook on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. 7. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes, stir well and cook 1 minute until fragrant. 8. Add the chicken stock, boulion cubes, and parmesan rind, turn heat to high, and bring to boil. 9. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add the meatballs and their accumulated juices, and the pasta. 10. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on low heat. 11. Remove the parmesan rind, add the escarole, cover again, and cook 5-10 minutes until escarole is tender. 12. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. 13. Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Note: If you like a brothier soup, cook the pasta separately and add to individual bowls when serving.
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