Sunday, December 23, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup... Ella's way...

Something a little different today... Each time I post on FB that I'm making Italian Wedding soup some of my friends ask me if I would share my recipe. I would love to, but the problem is I learned to cook by watching my grandmother (Stella) and I have no fast and hard rules. I work off my memory and from doing it time after time. I'm also fortunate to still have her with me if I have a question.
Today I'm making a big pot of soup for Christmas, so I thought I'd try and share how I make it. Remember, this is not a scientific recipe (I won't give accurate measurements) but I promise, the more you make this, the better you'll get at it.
We call it Holiday Soup in our house. Growing up, we only had it on holidays (usually Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and of course, at weddings). My kids like it so much that I make it starting in October and go right through the winter. It's a hearty soup and often works as a meal or a nice lunch.
Holiday Soup
What you'll need...
Chicken ( Perdue Whole Chicken approx 4.5 lbs)
Mini Meatballs (I use 3 lbs of Pork, Veal and Beef mixture)
Escarole (you could buy this fresh but I've been using bagged Escarole... Shh... don't tell Stella)
Celery stalks
Potato (1 large)
Onion (med size)
Chicken Broth ( 48 oz Can)
Parmesan Cheese
2 packets Instant Chicken Bouillon (for extra seasoning) Herb ox by Hormel
Small Pasta (pastina, tubettini, Acini de Pepe) 
Here's what I do...
In a large pot boil the chicken. While that's going...
In another large pot, pour the chicken broth with equal parts water in. Keep it on low while you chop the carrots, celery, onion and potato. Depending upon how much stuff you like in your soup will determine how many of each vegetable you'd like to use. I chop everything in my food processor because I like the pieces small. Chop the escarole (if you can't find bagged escarole, bagged spinach works too) and place in the simmering broth along with the chopped vegetables. You can also add salt and pepper but I don't add a ton since the cheese and the spice from the packet contain enough seasoning/sodium. It really depends on what your seasoning preference is.

I make my meatballs ahead of time. You can use your own recipe for them but you will need to make them much smaller than you would if you were making them for a pot of sauce. I always fry or bake mine before they go into the broth because I'm not a fan of tossing raw meatballs into my soup. (I add chopped garlic, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and Parmesan cheese to my mixture for tasty meatballs).

Once the meatballs are cooked, toss them into the broth. You can add grated Parmesan cheese and the two packets of chicken broth to the existing broth. Depending upon how many vegetables and meatballs you've added, you may need to add another can of broth (not as large as 48oz).  Bring the broth to a boil.

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from pot and let cool. I add some of the fresh broth made from cooking the chicken to the second pot. It gives the soup a nice flavor.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, I shred it and put it into the pot. I mostly the use the white meat for the soup. I let the soup cook on low for about an hour so the vegetables and escarole have time to cook.

Lastly, cook the small pasta of your choice in another pot. I don't add the pasta directly to the main pot of soup because after a day or two in the fridge, it tends to get soggy and it also absorbs a great deal of the broth. I just make enough to add to what we're eating during that portion. You don't have to add pasta either. My grandmother never did. That's one of my own additions.


I hope my recipe is clear enough. For a writer, I stink at giving written directions. LOL As you can see, the base is a chicken soup with a few additions. Feel free to alter or use variations.


Happy Holidays!



  1. Dear Ella, Wow! This looks wonderful! And what a blessing that you still have your grandmom with you. I hope you and your whole family enjoy a delightful Christmas, and a healthy, prosperous New Year. Hugs, Mary

  2. Thank you for sharing this, I'll have to give it a try. It reminds me of a soup my mom makes. I'm Italian too. I love pastina, fabulous treat in soup.