I love any soup with pastina in it, but this Italian Wedding Soup really hits the spot! My Grandma Sue often made us chicken pastina soup with a plain and simple recipe. This time of year she typically was making it every other day. The minute she heard one of her little grandchildren was sick with a winter cold or flu it was Gram to the rescue. Who needed medicine when we had Gram’s pastina soup! Truly chicken soup for the Italian kid’s soul!
When I started to write this post I was not sure of the history of “Italian Wedding Soup,” but I thought maybe it was served at a lot of Italian Weddings. Wrong! I looked it up and this is what I found. The term “wedding soup” comes from the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination/”marriage” of greens and the broth. And married the flavors are. The meatballs are so tender and flavored from simmering with the chicken broth and greens. The pastina has a special flavor and texture too!
Every time I put a spoonful of this or plain chicken pastina soup in my mouth it takes me back 40 plus years when I sat at the table with my grandmother talking about Italy or her trip across the ocean or whatever her advice of the day was. Memories that will stay with me forever! I cherish those days!
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 64 oz Chicken Stock - make fresh or use boxed chicken stock. See instructions for making stock.
- ½ box pastina
- 1 head of escarole or 2 bags of baby spinach
- 12-15 mini meatballs
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Salt and Pepper
- In a large skillet over medium high heat saute the garlic in the olive oil. Add the spinach or escarole and fry until partially cooked. Set aside.
- Boil water over high heat use medium sauce pan when water starts to boil add a generous amount of salt - then add pastina - boil for a few short minutes. Do not cooked the pastina all the way. Before straining the pasta reserve about a half cup of the water.
- If making the chicken stock - boil 64 oz of water with bone-in chicken breasts, celery, onion, carrot until chicken is cooked. Simmer.
- Make the meatballs - see recipe under the dinner section of recipes titled "Meat-a- Balls."
- When stock is done add pastina, greens, meatballs to the stock as well as the reserved pasta water and simmer. Flavor to taste with Salt and Pepper.