Italian Wedding Soup

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  • Total: 2 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 30 min
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2 slices stale white sandwich bread, crusts removed

3/4 pounds ground turkey

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 large egg, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 small onion, chopped

1 rib celery, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 head escarole (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped

8 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add half of the garlic and 1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce and sage; cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, 3 cups water and the parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the pork, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan, the remaining garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce and sage in a bowl. Form into 1-inch meatballs.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the soup to a boil. Stir in the orzo and cook 6 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook until they are firm and float to the top, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 more minute. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with parmesan.