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Sarah’s Italian Wedding Stew

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For the Stock:

  • 1 whole chicken or 2 bone-in chicken breasts and 4 bone-in thighs
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

For the Meatballs:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs


  • 1 cup orzo pasta (or acini di pepe, a traditional choice)
  • Additional chicken stock, as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Extra grated Romano cheese, for serving


Prepare the Stock:

  1. In a large pot, combine the whole chicken (or chicken pieces), carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, and dried Italian seasoning. Cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Allow the stock to simmer gently for about 1-2 hours, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the broth is flavorful.
  3. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding any bones and skin.
  4. Strain the stock to remove the spent vegetables and bay leaves, reserving some of the carrots and celery if desired for texture in the soup. Return the stock to the pot.

Make the Meatballs:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, Italian seasoning, eggs, grated Romano cheese, red pepper flakes (if using), and breadcrumbs. Mix until well combined.
  2. Form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Set aside on a tray or baking sheet.

Assemble the Soup:

  1. Bring the strained stock to a gentle boil. Carefully drop the meatballs into the boiling stock. They will cook in the broth and add extra flavor.
  2. Add the orzo pasta to the soup and cook according to the package instructions, usually about 7-10 minutes, until al dente.
  3. If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with additional chicken stock to your liking.
  4. Add the bag of fresh spinach until wilted.
  5. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and warm through. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Ladle the hot soup into bowls, making sure each serving has a good amount of meatballs, chicken, vegetables, and pasta.
  2. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and extra grated Romano cheese.
  3. Serve hot, with crusty Italian bread if desired.
  • Author: Lucas Krammes
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