Days of the year that I’d like to eat Italian wedding soup: 365. Days of the year that I want to make mini-meatballs for Italian wedding soup: 1. Maybe. I love, love, love wedding soup, but I really hate rolling all those tiny meatballs. So, I never make it even though it’s an extremely easy recipe otherwise.
Enter: cheater’s Italian wedding soup. Everything amazing about Italian wedding soup minus the endless meatball making.
It’s All About The Escarole
This cheater’s version of wedding soup works so well because, in my opinion, it’s the escarole, not the meatballs, that makes wedding soup so delicious. Just like collard greens make a rich pot likker, the escarole wilts and its juices add an amazing depth of flavor to the broth.
Funny sidebar: for years my father and I argued about the green that should be added to wedding soup. I said escarole and he said endive. Then I learned that escarole is a type of endive, so we were both right. I’ll take the W on that debate and he can have one too.
This version of Italian wedding soup came out super delicious and now I can easily have this every month of the year.
♥ Related: Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Let’s Talk Stock
For this recipe, you need cooked shredded chicken, in lieu of meatballs, and chicken stock. Both are easily found prepared in the supermarket. You can shred a grocery store rotisserie chicken and use boxed chicken stock. Or use Better Than Bouillon which is my personal favorite instant chicken stock product on the shelf.
For recipe development, I cooked about 2 pounds of chicken legs in the Instant Pot and shredded the meat for my soup. I used the remaining bones and cooking liquid with some extras from my stockpile to make a quick chicken stock in the Instant Pot.
Pressure cooking is my favorite way to make an easy, relatively quick stock which I’ve been doing every week this year. I love having homemade stock in the fridge—especially during soup season.
♥ Related: How to Make Stock in the Instant Pot (Video)
Cheater’s Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large onion diced small, ~¼-inch
- 1 medium carrot diced small, ~¼-inch
- 1 stalk celery diced small, ~¼-inch
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 6 cups chicken stock homemade, boxed, or made from Better Than Bouillon
- 1 lb cooked chicken shredded into large chunks
- 1 head escarole chopped into bite sized pieces
- ½ cup dried orzo the more traditional acini de pepe would work, too!
- 2 whole eggs beaten
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery with a big pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened and the onion has turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, and thyme. Stir and cook for a minute longer.
- Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the chicken, escarole, and orzo. Cook for another 8-10 minutes until the escarole has wilted and is tender and the orzo is cooked through.
- While the escarole and orzo are cooking, whisk together the egg and parmesan cheese. Once the orzo is cooked through, reduce the heat to low, and slowly drizzle the the egg mixture into the pot while stirring the soup so the egg forms thin strands throughout the soup.
- Taste. Add more salt and black pepper as needed. Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Things You Might Need For This Recipe
- Better Than Bouillon: I keep Better Than Bouillon on hand at all times. It’s a good value and tastes great. Plus, it takes up a lot less space than boxes of stock.
- Instant Pot: I love my Instant Pot and use it to make homemade stock regularly. It’s so easy and relatively quick! I use my instant pot for lots of kitchen tasks including making perfect rice and hardboiled eggs.
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