Blue-rimmed white speckled bowl with brown soup with mini meatballs, ditalini pasta, carrots and kale.
Art Direction & Food Styling: Anthony Contrino – Photography: Andrea Patton

Nothing makes me happier than stepping outside in the morning and being jarred awake by brisk air.  If I could live in a hoodie, I’d be a happy camper.   After a long day in the studio, I love coming home to my apartment, lighting the fireplace (AKA turning on the YuleLog!) and warming up some leftover soup.  This is one of my favorites, and I make it by the vat.  If you are going to freeze the leftovers, cook the pasta separately and do not add it to the pot of soup, otherwise it will get mushy.

Italian Wedding Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 1 pound ground beef, 80% lean
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ cups carrot medallions, about 6 medium carrots
  • 2 ½ cups sliced celery, about 6 celery stalks
  • 2 ½ cups chopped white onion, about 2 large onions
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 quarts vegetable stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, optional
  • Mini Meatballs
  • 1 1-pound package ditalini
  • 1 small bunch kale, about 6 to 8 stalks, stems removed, ripped into chunks
  • Pecorino cheese, for serving


  • MAKE THE MINI MEATBALLS. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until fully combined.
  • Roll the meat into balls the size of a gum ball; set aside.
  • MAKE THE SOUP. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the carrots, celery, onion and a generous pinch of salt and sauté until they begin to caramelize, stirring often, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sauté and additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the red pepper flakes and tomato paste; stir until the paste is fully incorporated, about 1 minute more.
  • Add the stock, thyme and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. The soup should have some salty flavor, but be underseasoned.
  • Add the meatballs and cheese rind, reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour.
  • Add the pasta and kale and cook until the pasta is al dente and the kale is wilted.
  • Season with salt, to taste.
  • Serve immediately with grated pecorino cheese.


This recipe is HEAVY on the pasta. If you’re into a more brothy soup, reduce the pasta to ½ pound.
Course: Easy Dinner, Meat, Soup
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino