Chef John Folse's Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

PREP TIME: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes

SERVES: 8-10

COMMENT: This soup is traditionally served at Italian weddings. It is served with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Being from South Louisiana, Julie and I have taken Cajun license and spiced up the meatballs to provide that explosion of flavors found only in Cajun and Creole cooking. Julie found the soup recipe from the Poole family in Rhode Island and pirated the meatball recipe from my brother, Chef John Folse's "Tender and Juicy Spaghetti and Meatballs" to make this soup one of the best soups I have ever had. - Jerry and Julie Folse


* 1 pound ground chuck

* 1 pound ground pork

* 6 eggs

* 1 cup minced onions

* 1 cup minced celery

* 1/4 cup chopped basil

* 13/4 cups Italian bread crumbs

* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* 2 tbsps salt

* 2 tbsps black pepper

* 3 quarts chicken broth

* 4 cups thinly sliced escarole (or spinach)

* 11/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta

* 2/3 cup finely diced carrots


In a large bowl, combine ground pork and ground chuck. Use hands to mix well. Add eggs, onions, garlic, celery, basil, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Again using hands, mix well. Add salt and pepper. Wet hands, and roll mixture into golf ball size meatballs. Place the rolled meatballs on a cookie sheet and set aside. John recommends flattening one of the meatballs and grilling in a little olive oil to test for seasoning. Seasoning can be adjusted if needed.

In a large saucepan, heat chicken broth to a boil. Add meatballs and reduce to a slow boil. After 30 minutes, stir in escarole (if you can't find escarole, fresh spinach is a good substitute), chopped carrots, and orzo pasta. Cook on slow boil for about 15 minutes more or until pasta is al dente. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Serve in soup bowl with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.