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Grandmom Lena's Italian Wedding Soup

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“I'm sharing my family tradition with this one... there never used to be a 'recipe' for this. I have spent years since my grandmother passed away replicating this recipe until I got the 'thumbs up' from my Dad. We usually have it as a first course for Thanksgiving. I always wondered why we only ever had it once a year, then I realized it's because there's a good bit of work involved. I think it's worth it!”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Prepare soup:.
  2. Place chicken in a large stock pot with just enough cold water to cover.
  3. Slowly bring to a boil and skim off the brown foam that rises to the surface.
  4. Once the brown foam subsides, add the rest of the ingredients except the salt and pepper.
  5. Boil chicken gently for approximately 2-3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone and the vegetables are very soft.
  6. Strain the meat and vegetables from the broth.
  7. Pull meat off the bones and break into spoon sized pieces and return to the broth.
  8. Finely mince the carrot and return that to the broth. Set aside.
  9. Prepare meatballs:.
  10. In a food processor add the eggs, garlic and parsley. Pulse on and off until minced but not a complete emulsion. You want very fine pieces.
  11. In a large bowl add the three ground meats and top with the egg mixture and salt and pepper.
  12. With your hands, begin to work the meats together with the egg.
  13. Add cheese and some of the breadcrumbs.
  14. Add as much or as little breadcrumb that you need until the mixture is somewhat moist, holds together, and not too dry.
  15. Roll mixture into small meatballs approx the same diameter as a quarter.
  16. In a medium sized saucepan, bring about 2 cups of the college inn chicken broth to a simmer.
  17. Drop the little meatballs into the college inn and poach until cooked through (about 3 minutes) remove with a slotted spoon and add to reserved soup. Continue until all the meatballs are cooked.
  18. Strain liquid left over in saucepan through cheesecloth and add to the soup that now has meatballs and chicken pieces in it.
  19. In another large stockpot, bring a large amount of salted water to a rolling boil.
  20. Add the thoroughly washed escarole to the water and allow to return to a boil.
  21. Cook until bright green slightly tender (don’t overcook here in the water) remove with a large slotted spoon or strain into a colander.
  22. Add to stock pot with soup. Add remaining college inn to the soup (enough to cover all ingredients in pot) and bring to a simmer.
  23. Add additional 1/3 cup locatelli to simmering soup.
  24. Tastes best if refrigerated overnight and warmed thoroughly the next day.

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