It is very confusing when one talks about the Italian wedding soup. Everyone thinks that is a soup people eat at their wedding. In Italy there is a special soup to eat at the end of the wedding, but that has nothing to do with the well-known Italian Wedding Soup in the United States.
The origin of this soup is the (still Italian) soup called ‘zuppa maritata’, married soup. And this refers to the meat and the vegetable greens in the soup. Not to a wedding. The soup is typical for the region of Campania. We prepare this soup during holidays like Christmas and Easter. The soup can be served with toasted (old) bread or fried polenta.
In Italy the ‘greens’ are escarole, Belgian endive, savoy cabbage and borage, with its lightly bitter taste. The meat can be pork in form of sausage or chunks. In the United States they seem to use meat balls only. And that is what I prepared.
I didn’t use the Italian greens and honestly I don’t recall that I ever had pasta in this soup. I prepared the meat balls Italian style with parmegiana cheese and instead of the bread crumbs I used for a paleo-friendly version roughly ground almonds. The soup itself had only the Belgian endive.
The soup is very tasty, though very different to the one I know. I actually found out after doing some research that I know this soup very well. Because of trying the ‘Italian wedding soup’ in America, I thought more about a Swedish origin. Who knows why…
Enjoy the soup!