I’m not Italian Wedding Soup

I may not be Italian or at a wedding, but I am plesantly full. Luckily due to a delicious pot of simmering soup I made this afternoon. As the windy storm graced us full speed, I jumped to bust-out my soup pot. Sundays are my favorite for cooking something, which may be too involved for a weeknight meal. That is not the case today because time is on our side! I was torn between making meatballs & pasta, or a pot of soup…ever the quandary. The result is a marriage of both. Here is my take on Italian Wedding Soup and a Vegetable Minestrone. Traditional Italian Wedding Soup usually has small meatballs, tiny pasta, fresh spinach, all amidst a chicken-based stock. Well, that does sound delectable, but I wanted to change it-up with some other veggies/flavors that will both satisfy and give us extra texture.

This Mini Meatball Minestrone is perfect on a cold night and makes for ample leftovers. It’s a little more involved, as we not only have a good amount of prep work, but we have to make baby balls of meat, which require a little more patience…or maybe a good glass of Chardonnay. Whatever works better for you! In addition to homemade meatballs, our plentiful pot will hold fresh garlic, onion, leek, carrot. spinach, zucchini, wine, seasonings, chicken stock, and a tiny star-shaped pasta called Stelline. I assure that this one falls nothing short of stellar.

Now that’s one wholesome bowl of soup…

Mini Meatball Minestrone
An Italian Wedding Style soup bringing mini meatballs and minestrone vegetables together! Wonderful with toasted bread.
Serves: a large pot of soup, enough for several!
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
To Make the Meatballs:
  • 1 package (1.25 lbs) lean ground chicken (or turkey in my case)
  • ½ chopped sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic. chopped
  • 1 egg
  • S&P, red pepper flakes, paprika, Italian seasoning.
  • 2 T freshly chopped basil
  • ¼ cup shredded Italian cheese blend, or parmesan
  • ¾ cup dry bread crumbs, Italian seasoned if you have
  • *3 T EVOO for browning meatballs
For the Soup:
  • 1 (32 oz) carton low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans, low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz Stelline dry pasta (or approximate)
  • 1.5 cups dry white wine
  • ½ chopped sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters.
  • 1 cup sliced baby carrots
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large leek, well cleaned & chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • S&P, dried thyme (to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest & squeeze of fresh lemon
  • *Sourdough or other bread toasted for dipping
What to do:
Make Meatballs:
  1. Combine all meatball ingredients (minus EVOO) in a bowl and roll out, small, meatballs and place aside on wax paper. (about ½ inch in diameter)
  2. In preheated soup pot on stove, brown meatballs in the EVOO on all sides, for about 6 min.
  3. Transfer lightly browned meatballs to a 375 degree oven to finish cooking for about 8-10 mins.
  4. Remove meatballs from oven & pan and set aside, reserving large pot with drippings.
Prep Soup Ingredients:
  1. Wash all veggies.
  2. For leek, slice both white & green portions and wash by submerging in a bowl of cold water to remove any sand/dirt. Repeat and drain in colander.
  3. Slice zucchini and quarter slices
  4. Slice baby carrots
  5. Peel & chop garlic cloves & chop onion
  6. Remove stems from pre-washed baby spinach.
Begin Soup:
  1. Place soup pot with meatball drippings back to heat and deglaze with ½ cup white wine, scraping brown bits form bottom.
  2. To this add onion & garlic, cooking aromatic til tender, about 8 mins.
  3. To this add zucchini and carrot & 2 Tbs of butter.
  4. Continue to stir for about 8 mins more, and add chopped leaks.
  5. To this add another ½ cup white wine and stir till tender.
  6. Add salt & pepper and once leaks are tender add 32 o carton of chicken stock.
  7. Bring to slow boil and add meatballs and any juices back to pot.
  8. To this add ½ cup wine and 8 oz of pasta.
  9. Reduce heat to medium and stir often.
  10. Add a can of the chicken broth
  11. Add seasoning as desired
  12. Let simmer on low for about 20 min, with lid ajar.
  13. Add lemon zest, squeeze of juice and continue to simmer on low.
  14. Lastly add fresh spinach, stirring well to combine.
  15. Toast bread for dipping and turn off heat on stove. Let soup remain simmering in pot off heat as long as desired.
  16. **Serve with shredded basil & parmesan for garnish, with toasted bread. Enjoy!
Notes:
The homemade meatballs in this soup make it extra special and we're loading it with fresh veggies. Italian inspired & a true one pot comfort meal. I went with turkey meatballs, but ground chicken or pork meatballs would be equally as delicious. Second helpings required!

It may take awhile, but it’s time well spent! And it’s not like you’d rather be standing out in inclement weather anyhow. We are getting a well-balanced soup with seasonal vegetables, lean protein and bowls of flavor. The meatballs alone are wonderful, and just a bit smaller than regular to work with the existing ingreds in the soup. We’re able to achieve enhanced flavor with the white wine & fresh basil, and so, I think I may have found a new favorite! I highly recommend this one for your next rainy weekend, or when a comforting meal just seems in order.

I hope the weekend treated you well!

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Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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