This soup takes me back more than 60 years, to my Italian grandmother’s kitchen. As a child, she would make this for me all the time. So many little meatballs! I was only nine years old when she passed away, but the flavors of this soup are etched in my mind.
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Of course, those tiny meatballs are the star of the recipe. My younger self most definitely did not appreciate the love that went into making them! Those tender little bites are what I remember best, so for my gluten free recreation I used ground veal. Just one taste and I knew I had made the right choice!
Note ♪ If ground veal is not available, substitute ground beef, pork, turkey, etc.
Believe it or not, there were only 2 ingredient swaps needed to make Italian Wedding Soup gluten free. First, the breadcrumbs. I am a big fan of Aleia’s gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs, and they were perfect in the meatballs. Second, the soup pasta. I was thrilled to find Gluten Free Acini de Pepe at Bella Italia Food Store this year. It is close to the pastina shape that my grandmother would have used, and you really can’t tell that it’s gluten free!
For the Meatballs
- 8 oz. ground veal
- 1/4 cup gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp. Tuscan seasoning
- olive oil
For the Soup
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- olive oil
- 32 oz. carton gluten free chicken broth
- 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
- 6 oz. gluten free soup pasta
- 6 oz. bag baby spinach
- 1/2 tsp. sage
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated parmesan for serving
Combine the first 5 meatball ingredients (everything but the olive oil) in a bowl and mix well with your hands.
Use a half teaspoon to form tiny little meatballs, about 3/4″ diameter. Roll them between your palms and set them on a plate or sheet of waxed paper.
Heat a nonstick skillet with a little olive oil and brown the meatballs for just a few minutes over medium low heat. Don’t crowd the pan, cook the meatballs in batches if needed.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the meatballs and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.
Note ♪ You can prepare the soup up to this point the night before, just refrigerate the meatballs and continue with the recipe when ready.
For the soup, add the onions, celery and carrots to a soup pot with a little olive oil. Stir until the veggies begin to release their liquid, then add the garlic and cook one minute longer.
Add the broth, stock and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes. Cook the pasta separately, according to package directions.
Turn off the heat. Add the baby spinach and stir to wilt.
Return the meatballs to the pot to warm through.
Drain and rinse the pasta under warm water and add it to the soup.
I find that gluten free soup pasta can be gummy, so it is best cooked separately, drained and rinsed to remove some of that starch.
Serve with finely grated cheese, use the good stuff!
This soup was just the thing for a cold winter evening! It would be a wonderful first course for a holiday dinner.
Friends, I hope you enjoyed this post! I know that my grandmother would be so pleased that I made this soup in her memory.
Notes ♪♫ In some recipes for Italian Wedding Soup, the raw meatballs are dropped right into the soup. I like the extra flavor you get from browning, and it removes some of the fat at the same time.