The term “wedding soup” is a mistranslated phrase of the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together. The minestra maritata recipe was long popular in Toledo, Spain, before pasta became an affordable commodity to most Spaniards. The modern wedding soup is quite a bit lighter than the old Spanish form, which contained more meats than just the meatballs of modern Italian-American versions. This version uses sausage for the meatballs, but you could use beef or even ground turkey. I used the ever popular kale as the green, but it could be spinach or other hearty greens.
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 pound italian sausage
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup pesto
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 4 ounces ditalini pasta
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the broiler.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Combine the sausage, ricotta, pesto, parmesan, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp of pepper in a large bowl.
- Mix with your hands until just combined.
- Form into 24 small meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each.
- Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
- Broil until lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and ½ tsp salt.
- Cook, stirring, until the onion is softened.
- Stir in the chicken broth, 2 cups water, kale, and ditalini.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then partially uncover and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Add the meatballs and simmer, uncovered, until warmed through.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle each serving with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.