The name “wedding soup” has absolutely nothing to do with serving this at a wedding.  The phrase minestra maritata – or wedding soup – refers to the way the flavors combine, like in a happy marriage.  (LOL….. we all know it is hard work and not always perfect, but luckily for us, many have tried and tested this recipe before!)

It must be a winter “thing” because I crave food that brings me warmth and comfort during the winter months in Norway.  It is my first attempt making this soup and I would say that it is all about the fresh herb flavours in the little meatballs.   There is a bit more work involved with having to make meatballs as well, but it is so worth it!

You’ll need

  • For the meatballs
  • 225g beef mince, lean
  • 225g pork mince (you can also use the sausage meat of sweet or hot Italian sausages, just remove the meat from the casing)
  • ½ cup bread crumbs, freshly grated
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp sage, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp fresh oregano chopped finely
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ----
  • For the soup
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leave
  • ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 2lt low-sodium chicken stock (if you want a more intense broth, use half chicken, half beef broth/stock)
  • 1 cup dry acini de pepe, orzo or ditalini pasta
  • 170g spinach fresh, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
  • Salt and white pepper for seasoning
  • Grated parmesan, for serving


  1. For the meatballs:
  2. Heat the oven to 180°C. (*)
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and place a roasting rack on top. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Add beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Add in breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, chives, sage, Parmesan, egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well and shape into tablespoon-size meatballs and place onto the prepared rack.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly golden. At this stage it does not need to be cooked through as it will cook further in the soup broth.
  6. ----
  7. For the soup:
  8. While meatballs are baking, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  9. Add carrots, onions and celery and sauté until softened.
  10. Add the garlic and bay leave. Sauté for 1 minute.
  11. Pour in chicken stock and wine (optional), season soup with salt and white pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs; reduce heat to a light boil.
  12. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender and meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  13. Add spinach during the last minute of cooking.
  14. Serve warm with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Many of the Italian recipes do not require colouring on the meatballs but I find that caramilizing them slightly before adding them to the soup definitely adds to the flavour. (*) If you don’t want to use the oven, you can fry the meatballs in a heavy based non-stick skillet until golden brown. I would recommend 2 batches and drain them on towel paper until needed.

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