Italian wedding soup with chicken meatballs is filling, hearty and so tasty. It’s a chicken meatball soup which is made from scratch, and that means both the soup and the meatballs themselves. You will love this traditional Italian soup with acini de pepe pasta. This mini meatball soup is such a wonderfully fresh dish!
This traditional Italian soup is made with pasta and spinach along with aromatic hints of lemon and fresh parsley. The meatballs are flavoured with a variety of aromatics including paprika, basil and garlic.
Chicken Meatball Soup Ingredients
First let’s look at what you need for the meatball ingredients. The main ingredient is ground chicken, although you could always sub ground turkey, ground pork or any other ground meat for a very similar result. The key is flavourful meatballs and that can be done with various meats. Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan and an egg help to bind them and hold them together.
Cream or milk, butter and olive oil also go into the mini meatballs. The seasonings give them so much flavour, and those are parsley, garlic, basil, onion, paprika, salt, and pepper. Those are quite a lot of ingredients but they are so good and the most tender meatballs!
For the mini meatball soup itself, you’ll need chicken broth as the base along with fresh spinach. A flavourful broth is important! The vegetables in this soup with acini de pepe pasta are onion, carrot and celery. You can also use orzo pasta or another tiny pasta in this classic Italian wedding soup.
Acini de pepe pasta, lemon, garlic, vinegar and seasonings also go into the mix. This is a traditional Italian wedding soup with chicken meatballs but there’s no reason you can’t play with the ingredients if you want to use different veggies or omit one or two of the seasonings to suit your palate.
How to Make the Best Traditional Italian Soup
Get ready for the amazing flavour experience that is Italian wedding soup with chicken meatballs! There might be a lot of ingredients in mini meatball soup but it’s not difficult to make at all.
First make the meatballs. Combine the ground chicken with breadcrumbs, cream, cheese, egg, and the spices then shape this mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Melt the butter with the oil in a soup pot then sear the meatballs all over before removing them from the pot.
Add the vegetables and seasonings to the pot next and cook them for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Now you can add the vinegar, lemon juice and chicken broth. Add the meatballs back in and cook for a while then add the pasta and cook until just al dente. The spinach and parsley go into the chicken meatball soup just before you serve it.
What is Acini de Pepe Pasta?
You might be curious about this soup with acini de pepe pasta. What exactly is that ingredient? Well, acini de pepe is a type of pasta and it translates to mean ‘peppercorn”, ‘seeds of pepper’ or ‘grape seeds’ in Italian. The reason this pasta is added to Italian wedding soup with chicken meatballs is it’s a fertility symbol. As well as being an ingredient in soup with acini de pepe pasta, this type of pasta is good in cold salads.
How to Store Mini Meatball Soup
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for a few days and you can warm the soup back up gently on the stove. Another option is to freeze it in portions and use it up within 2 or 3 months for the best result.
Who knew that parmesan cheese, chicken stock, small pasta, baby spinach and tiny meatballs could combine to make such a great recipe that is one of my all time favourite soups! Minestra maritata is an ancient Neapolitan soup which means “married soup”and refers to the marriage of meat and vegetables. This delicious soup is a traditional Italian Easter, Christmas or San Silvestro feast. Many are surprised that it has nothing to do with Italian weddings!
Chicken Meatball Soup FAQs
Chicken broth is the best choice for a traditional Italian soup. If you were to sub vegetable or beef broth, for example, the flavour would be completely different, so I’d strongly recommend sticking with chicken broth.
Although it’s best to stick with the chicken broth, you do have a free rein when it comes to the veggies! Try kale or escarole instead of spinach but bear in mind you’ll have to add them when adding the pasta since they take longer to cook than spinach does. Consider adding a drained can of cannellini beans to make the soup more filling.
Since Italian wedding soup with chicken meatballs is so freshness oriented, I’d definitely recommend making the meatballs yourself. If you must use the store-bought kind or even frozen meatballs in your mini meatball soup though, make sure they’re Italian style.
Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs Recipe
The BEST Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs
- 1 Pound ground chicken
- 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs Italian style
- 1/3 Cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoon butter
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon parsley fresh chopped
- 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 Cups chicken broth
- 3 Cups baby spinach fresh
- 1 1/4 Cup acini de pepe pasta dry
- 1 onion yellow, chopped
- 1 1/2 Cup carrot chopped
- 3/4 Cup celery
- 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons parsley chopped, fresh
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed
- In a bowl mix together the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, egg, and all of the spices until fully combined.
- Spoon a small amount of the chicken mixture into the palm of your hand. Roll the mixture into a ball about 1” in size. Set the ball down on a tray then repeat until all of the mixture has been formed into meatballs.
- In the bottom of a soup pot, melt the butter and oil over medium high heat. Working in batches as to not overcrowd, sear the meatballs on all sides. Once all sides have been seared remove the meatballs from the pot.
- Once all of the meatballs have been seared, leave the pot on the heat and pour in the carrots, onions, celery, and soup seasonings (except for the fresh parsley).
- Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add in the garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Pour in the white wine vinegar, juices from ½ of the lemon, and chicken broth, bring to a light boil.
- Add the meatballs back into the soup, let boil for minutes.
- Add the Acini de Pepe pasta and cook until tender.
- Carefully taste the soup and add in any additional seasoning as preferred. Depending on the type of chicken broth you used, you may need to add extra salt at this time.
- Add in the spinach and fresh parsley just before serving.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and a slice from the remaining ½ of the lemon.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
I can’t recommend this delicious chicken meatball soup enough. This soup with acini de pepe pasta boasts juicy homemade meatballs, rich flavours and it’s really easy to make too! Serve with some crusty bread and this classic soup will be met with rave reviews.