posted in Dinner at 6

Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup

This soup is chock-full of meatballs and pasta and vegetables- adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics CookbookItalian Wedding Soup


There are some days when it’s so chilly outside that you feel like you might not make it from the car to your front door without obtaining a bit of frostbite.  These are the days that soup feels entirely perfect and comforting for dinner.  But can soup be considered a main dish?  My husband doesn’t think so.  When soup is placed in front of him for his evening meal, he looks at me, smiles and says, “What’s for dinner?”  My loving response is, “Sweetheart… some soups are meant to be main dishes.  This is one of them.”  And it is!

Prep for this soup first involves making the meatballs. Mix the (turkey & sausage) meatball ingredients and spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet.

Baking the meatballs in the oven makes this entire process so much simpler than trying to saute 40 meatballs in a skillet. They’re done cooking after about 30 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, you can prep the soup…chopped onion, carrot, and celery with chicken broth and wine. Pasta and fresh dill are added in toward the end.

Your cooked meatballs are then slipped in. It’s set to simmer for a bit before adding in fresh spinach, giving it a taste and adding in any needed salt and pepper.

Now, if this soup isn’t a meal in itself… I don’t know what is.

Warm, comforting, colorful, healthy and delicious. Serve it to your family knowing that it will fill their tummies and warm their souls in the chilly days of winter. And fyi, my husband is a good guy… a great guy. He just never had homemade soup growing up, and he is actually very happy about having this one for dinner!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Italian Wedding Soup

This soup is UN-BELIEVABLY good. I'm addicted, and I'm afraid you might be at risk too.



  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta (I used mini bow-tie pasta)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach- trimmed, washed & patted dry
  • extra Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare meatballs: Place ground meats, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (you’ll make somewhere around 40 meatballs). Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
  3. Prepare soup: Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add pasta to the simmering broth and cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in spinach and cook for 1 minute, until spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
Source: (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

Other hearty soup recipes you might enjoy:

30 Responses to “Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup”

  1. postedJan 24, 2011 2:14 AM

    First of all – this soup looks very yummy! Secondly, I am feeling especially like not going outside today because it is -10 degrees here this morning!

    Grumpy says the same thing about soups and he never is happy if I try to feed him any kind of sandwich for dinner. He says he eats sandwiches for lunch and wants nothing to do with them for dinner!

  2. postedJan 24, 2011 4:30 AM

    I’ve never made Italian Wedding Soup but it does look perfectly comforting for a cold day!

  3. postedJan 24, 2011 4:45 AM

    Never made it. Looks lovely.

    I made soup this weekend and it was so yummy! That’s one thing I do love about winter! LOL

    Have a great week!

  4. postedJan 24, 2011 5:03 AM
    Blog is the New Blac

    I’ve made this before and LOVED it! The only thing I didn’t like was the romano cheese. I’ll use parm next time!

  5. postedJan 24, 2011 7:43 AM

    Every time I see a recipe for this soup, I make a mental note to try it, but for some reason I never have. I’m putting this on my list of recipes to try immediately. It looks wonderful!

  6. postedJan 24, 2011 7:58 AM

    My goodness, this looks delicious. I love that the meatballs are made with ground turkey, making it a healthier option. I’m in such a soup kind of mood lately. This recipe is a keeper.

  7. postedJan 24, 2011 9:59 AM

    I’m glad I saw this before I finished my menu planning for the week. This looks delicious! I love that the meatballs are made with turkey and turkey sausage and are baked instead of fried. I’m making this soup this week!

    Your photos are awesome, as usual! 🙂

  8. postedJan 24, 2011 7:19 PM

    Lori, this Italian wedding soup looks delicious. Love Ina Gartens style of cookig – pure & simple.

  9. postedJan 24, 2011 10:23 PM

    I’ve been wanting to make Italian Wedding soup as I never have. I love Ina’s recipes, so this will be the perfect fit. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful photos!!

  10. postedJan 25, 2011 5:51 AM

    Seeing your description and fab photos, I think I want this for breakfast! It truly does look like a hearty meal. This will be made ASAP before the Phoenix cold weather goes away!

  11. postedJan 25, 2011 6:20 AM

    I just woke up and you are making me HUNGRY! Thanks! =)

    It’s been really cold here and I am house bound due to an injury, so soup (this one in particular) sounds marvelous. =)

  12. postedJan 25, 2011 9:21 AM

    So glad you made it and liked it, Lori. I saw her do it…but it looked like such a chore! You make it look simple!

  13. postedJan 26, 2011 6:00 PM

    Mmm, that looks really good. My roommate would be all over that soup. I should make him some.

  14. postedNov 8, 2011 8:08 PM

    Just made this… tastes great! Didn’t find 8oz of spinach to be enough… thanks!

  15. postedNov 20, 2011 10:58 AM

    Dear Ina,

    I am a soup person. I cook anything for my family from Chinese shark fin soup (premium soup usually served in wedding banquet) to wonton, Korean tofu soup, Thai tom yum, Vietnamese pho… I am planning to make this Italian wedding soup the first time for my office Thanksgiving potluck this Monday. I like your recipe the best, and the picture is worth a thousand words!!! Thank you so much, I am adding this delicious recipe to my soup list. and it will definitely be on my family Thanksgiving dinner as well!

    Have a fabulous Sunday,

    Best Regards,

    Tiffany P.

  16. postedDec 3, 2011 5:10 AM
    Tauna La Bare

    I made this for a work function and this was all anyone talked about. I changed it up a little bit by using ground chicken and hot italian chicken sausage patties. Also I added about 2-3 more garlic cloves to the meatballs and used seasoned bread crumbs and a parmesan and romano cheese mix. I omitted the wine and dill as well. It was amazing and I am now getting requests to make it for other functions. ENJOY

  17. postedDec 3, 2011 5:12 AM
    Tauna La Bare

    Oh and I also used acini di pepe noodles instead. They are the little round balls. LOL

  18. postedJan 8, 2012 9:30 AM

    this certainly is a meal. So much goodness going on there. Love it

  19. postedFeb 17, 2012 5:50 PM

    Good stuff, I skipped the step of baking the meatballs and just dumped them in the soup raw and let the juices cook into the broth.

  20. postedDec 11, 2012 1:32 PM
    Rick R. Reed

    I grew up eating Italian wedding soup at family celebrations and as a first course on holidays (my mom was Sicilian). With all due respect to Ina, I shuddered at the inclusion of dill (really?) and, please, the soup is much better if you use escarole over spinach, although spinach will do in a pinch.

  21. postedFeb 2, 2013 5:28 PM

    I first made this recipe a year ago and it is now a staple that my husband and I make. It is just the perfect soup for a cold night. The hardest part of this soup is not eating all the meatballs before you put them in the soup! Thanks for sharing this!

  22. postedJan 10, 2014 8:20 PM

    I made this today. It’s reallllly good. But the only problem is that it’s too much stuff and not enough broth! Does anyone have any recommendations? I don’t know whether to add another cup chicken broth and a no white wine, or a little bit of both.

    • postedJan 11, 2014 11:19 AM

      I always add a little more broth if that happens- and I find it happens often with soup!

  23. postedJan 19, 2014 6:03 PM
    Beth K

    I made this soup this weekend and I loved it! One thing I wish there was more broth, but ill just add some more stock next time.

  24. postedJan 22, 2014 7:52 AM

    I’m pinning this. It looks so good especially right now that it’s freezing outside. Soup is perfect.

  25. postedFeb 19, 2014 7:34 PM

    I made this tonight, and used ground chicken instead of turkey. I think next time I will use beef/veal/pork. I guess I’m not fond of poultry meatballs, but the dish turned out really good. Like others mentioned, it could’ve had more broth, but like I said, it was very tasty, and filling.

  26. postedSep 5, 2015 11:39 AM

    Ina doesn’t have a clue as to how to make an authentic “Italian Wedding Soup”! First of all, the tiny meatballs are traditionally made with ground veal, not turkey! She should stick with her own (pretentious) “French Cuisine”, and not attempt to make dishes which are authentically Italian….since she doesn’t know how to make them. She suggested that you should add oil into your pasta water when cooking it….in order to keep the pasta from sticking together!! NO Italian cook would ever do that, since the oil will keep the sauce from sticking to the pasta. That woman is a total joke, and very ‘pretentious! Also, what’s up with all of those ‘gays’ on her cooking shows in the Hamptons, and doesn’t she ever change her clothes? The only ‘normal’ person on her show is her husband, Jeffery.

  27. postedJan 17, 2016 2:26 PM

    This soup is amazing and perfect on a frigid Midwest day! I made for the first time a couple of months ago, and my husband loved it so much he me to make it again. I love the turkey meatballs as well.

    The only thing I will do differently is add more spinach and yes, it does need a bit more broth. No biggie. The dill is a wonderful flavor, too!

  28. postedJan 14, 2017 9:17 PM

    I know this is a little late to comment, but I have to tell you. I made this soup for my family a couple years ago now and everyone instantly loved it! This is our favorite soup to make, and I’ve even used the meatballs in different recipes. In fact I just made it tonight to take to a party tomorrow. I always have to double the recipe so there’s plenty to go around. I made this to serve as the soup course at my parent’s 30th anniversary party to great reviews! It really is addicting!

    • postedJan 20, 2017 5:09 PM

      Happy to hear!

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