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Catholic Recipe: Italian Wedding Soup


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. fat-free Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup flavored bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs (well beaten)
  • garlic to taste (1-2 cloves, crushed)
  • salt and pepper to taste Broth:
  • 3 quarts chicken broth (homemade or canned)
  • 1 lb. chopped spinach
  • 1/5 box Acini di Pepe pasta
  • (or 2 cups barley or rice) 


Yield: 4 quarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: Italy


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Also Called: Minestra Maritata

This dish is extremely old, falling into a group of meat-and-vegetable soups that are common throughout Europe, and may have a Roman origin. It was the standard Neapolitan fare before the introduction of pasta, so much so that people from other regions used to call Neapolitans "leaf-eaters" (mangiafoglie). Alas, minestra maritata's popularity is now waning among Neapolitans: Since it was designed to be a fulfilling single-course meal (and would likely have been the only meal of the day for many people a century ago) it is rib-sticking. Too rib-sticking for modern diners, who generally follow their soup with a second course, and are also much more conscious of fats than their ancestors were. As is the case with all traditional recipes, there is an infinite number of variations to minestra maritata. The important thing is that it contain meat and greens; within these restrictions feel free to vary the recipe to suit your tastes.


Meatballs: Combine all ingredients and roll into small meatballs. Broil meatballs under broiler in cast iron skillet or large baking pan coated with olive oil. Continue broiling until brown. Drain any oil from meatballs.

Soup: Bring broth to slow simmer in large stock pot. Add broiled meatballs. Add chopped spinach and pasta. Cook until the meatballs are done (they usually float to the top of the pot), and the pasta is tender, approximately 40 minutes.

Recipe Source: Information from Various Websites