Even if you don't know exactly what Italian wedding soup is, we're sure you've probably had it before. Usually served in Italian restaurants across the country, Italian wedding soup is a stew-like dish made of vegetables and meatballs. Very similar to minestrone, another popular Italian dish, the wedding soup is a simple, yet great way to start a tasty meal.
The name wedding soup is actually a mistake. The more accurate translation would be "married soup". Minestra maritata in Italian, the name hints to the "marriage" between the tastes of the meat and the vegetables in this soup. Simple and cute, we think the term suits the soup quite well!
The Italian wedding soup recipe is actually pretty old, dating back to the 15th century. Even though variations exist, especially in Italy, the recipe stays widely the same both through the years and different regions.
The soup is a product of something called "la cucina povera", or "poor cooking", a way of life that stems from rural Italy. The idea behind this is no waste cooking, i.e. using up as much of the ingredients you have available, trying your best to not throw anything out.
Even though today no waste cooking is a trend, in 15th century rural Italy it was a necessity. People didn't have much money to throw around, so everything had to be used completely. Even though our married soup is essentially made from scraps, it's still quite tasty and speaks volumes about the adaptability and creativity of the Italian people.
As we said before, there are variations to this soup. Even so, however, the recipes still hint to one another. In a classic bowl of Italian wedding soup ingredients fall into four categories: meat, vegetables, broth, and pasta.
Things like spices, salt and pepper, and olive oil are also included, but we won't get into them. Instead, let's look at the main ingredient categories in detail.
The meat, or meatballs specifically, are quite unique. Italian wedding soup meatballs are nothing like your ordinary meatball. Usually made with parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, a pinch of lemon zest, and some spices, these turkey meatballs are heavenly. The ingredients assure the meatball stays moist and flavorful during cooking, while still releasing sweet juices to create that "married" effect the soup is known for.
The vegetables are where the soup recipes differ from one another. In the original married soup the vegetables are mainly leafy greens. Specifically, you will see escarole and broccoli rabe. However, nowadays things like kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are often found in this soup.
The broth is usually homemade chicken broth. Filled with an exciting flavor and lots of nutrients, the broth is the perfect base for this soup. Some people like to add a bit of parmesan rind to deepen the flavor.
Finally, the pasta used in an Italian wedding soup is usually small. This is because you want it to add texture, but not overpower the other ingredients, both in taste and consistency.
There actually aren't many calories in Italian wedding soup. Depending on how its made, a serving of this soup can have anywhere from 90 to 180 calories, which isn't much at all, especially for an appetizer. Here are the raw nutritional facts for a soup that has 120 calories:
3,5g fat (1,5g of which are saturated), 789g sodium, 15g carbs, 2g fibers, 7g protein. The soup also has a few vitamins and minerals.
Seeing these facts, it turns out that the answer to the question "is Italian wedding soup healthy?" is yes, especially if you take into account what is usually chosen as an appetizer in Italian restaurants!
If you'd like to try this incredible dish, you should head to Slice and place an order. You'll soon get a bowl of hot, tasty minestra maritata you'll love. You can also visit our featured restaurants to dine in-house with your loved ones.
If you're in Philly, Dolce Carini Pizza makes an excellent bowl of married soup. Filled with all the tasty ingredients we spoke of before, the dish is one of their most popular appetizers.
In Baltimore, Chiapparelli's Restaurant is one of many go-to spots for married soup. There are lots of others, however, so head to Slice to see which one is closest to you!
In Vegas, Giuseppe's Bar & Grille is a great spot to dine at. Married soup is just one of the incredibly tasty dishes this place whips up and we're sure you'll have an amazing time!