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Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Full of tender veggies, savory broth, al dente pasta and hearty meatballs, It’s easy to say “I do” to this fabulous Italian Wedding Soup. This is a recipe I’ve always enjoyed- a classic that I love to sample whenever I see it on a menu. I had assumed that this soup was something served at Italian weddings, but thanks to a google search have learned that the name actually refers to the “marriage” that takes place between all the ingredients in the soup pot. It’s a blessed union indeed! I’ve lightened things up by using lean ground turkey in the meatball mixture. The meatballs are then baked instead of fried for a less greasy, better for ya version. I roll meatballs a tad smaller than those I would for, say, spaghetti ‘n meatballs- keep them close to 1-1/2” in diameter (about 1 rounded tablespoon each)- you should get roughly 18/20 from your batch. In order to keep the broth really clear and loose, I like to cook the pasta separately, drain and rinse under cool water, and then add it in to warm through at the very end (this way the soup broth doesn’t get too thick and cloudy). I have found that when making any pasta based soup ahead, this is the way to go if you want to avoid overly thick soup and overly cooked noodles! As pasta sits in hot broth, it will only continue to cook and soak up the liquid around it. I know making it in another pot is an annoying extra step but it’s worth it. Promise! The greens are always a last minute add as well so that we maintain that beautiful color and a hint of texture. Kale can be subbed with spinach here if you aren’t a kale fan or have spinach in the fridge instead. Lots of fresh herbs amplify this soup’s lightness and add some springy flavor in the final step. Go ahead and dust off your wedding china- it’s time to say “I do” to this recipe!


prep time: ~15 min. cook time: ~30 min. serves: 6


extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup dry white wine

8 cups chicken stock

kosher salt

ground black pepper

1 parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)

1 bunch tuscan ("lacinato") kale, stemmed and chopped (4-5 packed cups)

2 cups small pasta cooked to package directions, drained and rinsed in cool water (such as 1 cup dried orzo, pearl couscous or ditalini)

2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill


1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling in

2 tbsp milk

1 lb ground turkey


extra chopped dill/parsley, grated parmigiano reggiano, crusty bread



Make the meatballs: preheat the oven to 375° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place all the ingredients but the turkey into a large bowl and stir to mix. Add the turkey to the mixture and gently combine all the ingredients with your hands. Roll the meatball mixture into 1-1/2" balls, each about 1 rounded tbsp, and arrange them on the baking sheet (you should have about 18-20 meatballs). Drizzle or brush the tops lightly with more olive oil and pop into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned on top and just cooked through. Set aside.

*If you have not already done so, pre cook the pasta until al dente in boiling salted water according to package direction. Drain and rinse under cool water to halt cooking. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot and heat over medium. Add the onion, celery and carrot and a pinch of salt and sweat the vegetables 7-10 minutes, until they are starting to soften and the onion has become translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes more. Pour in the white wine and stock, season with 2-12 tsp salt and some ground black pepper to taste, toss in the parm rind and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the soup 10 minutes.

Add the meatballs, kale and cooked pasta and simmer 5 minutes more to wilt the kale and heat everything through. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the parsley and dill just before serving. Ladle the hot soup into bowls, portioning about 3-4 meatballs per person. Garnish with more more herbs and grated parmigiano and dunk with crusty bread on the side.

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