Family Recipe: Holiday Soup (or Wedding Soup)

Submitted by Pat of the Gallupoli Family in Ohio.

Don’t forget to submit your favorite family recipe today so we can add it to our online cookbook!

In the meantime, enjoy this delicious soup Pat has shared with us. It’s a great starter for any holiday meal, and it tastes even better as re-heated leftovers!

Who taught you this recipe?

My mother, who learned it from her mother. It is, of course, unconventional in the language, measurements, and technique (this is not the Food Network version, it is real old-time Italian cooking, verbally passed on to a novice cook). Have fun with it, and experiment/tweak to your taste!

How long has this recipe been passed down in your family?

My grandchildren are now making it on holidays, so five generations altogether.

When did your family use this recipe?

Even though this recipe is commonly referred to as Wedding Soup, our family called it “Holiday Soup.” As you can guess, it is because we ate it, happily, each and every holiday!

I cannot count the number of times my husband and kids rolled meatballs together while watching the big football game — and I was always yelling at them from the kitchen because they were rolling them too big!

What is your favorite memory of cooking this recipe?

The Thanksgiving my daughters I first taught my grandchildren to make it. We had an assembly line down the kitchen counter of meatball rollers while we watched the Macy’s parade, told stories and laughed!


  • 1 large roasting chicken
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes
  • 5 or six celery stalks (with leaves)
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 lbs. or endive or escarole
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal (can substitute either or both meats with meat of choice – beef, turkey, etc.)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 slice of Italian bread
  • 1/2 lb.  (container) of grated Romano cheese
  • 1 lb. pastina noodles (these is optional — traditionally, we never used them in the soup growing up, but my grandchildren love having them added in)


  • To make the broth, wash and pat dry the large roasting chicken. Then place it in a large pot and fill the pot with water.
  • Bring the water/chicken to a boil. As scum appears, skim it from the water’s surface.
  • Continue boiling and removing the scum until there is no more scum. Then add 1/2 can (or a little more) of diced tomatoes and (generous) salt to taste.
  • Add 5 or 6 washed and cut celery stalks and leaves, as well as 3 or 4 washed and cut carrots.
  • Boil everything slowly for 3 or 4 hours (until the liquid fills 1/2 the pot). Then remove the chicken.
  • To prepare the endive, boil water in a separate large pot. Add 3 lbs. of endive or escarole (your choice) and let it boil until it is tender.
  • Drain the endive (or escarole) and cut it into small pieces.
  • To make the meatballs, mix together 1 lb. of ground meat (I suggest 1/2 lb. pork and 1/2 lb. veal, but any meat can work), 1 egg, 1 slice of bread soaked in water (excess water squeezed), 1/2 lb. of grated Romano cheese, salt and pepper to taste. *If the mixture seems dry, dry add a little water. If too moist, add some breadcrumbs.
  • Form the mixed meat into “LITTLE” meatballs (the size of a nickel and no bigger if possible!).

Cooking Instructions:

  • Bring the broth back to a boil and place the meatballs into it.
  • Allow the meatballs to cook until they are brownish in color (you need to use your own judgement, depending on the size of the meatballs.)
  • While the meatballs cook, beat together 4 eggs and the remaining 1/2 lb. of Romano cheese.
  • Add the cooked endive to the egg & cheese mixture and stir together.
  • Once the meatballs are browned, pour the pastina noodles into the broth (if you are using them) and allow a few minutes for them to cook. Then pour the endive, egg and cheese mixture into the broth. Important: DO NOT STIR THE EGG MIXTURE IN THE BROTH FOR 3 0R 4 MINUTES (so the eggs and cheese can cook).
  • Once the egg whites look poached (again, after 3 or 4 minutes), then stir the soup.
  • If you desire, you can cut up some of the chicken and add it for a hardier soup.
  • Serve the soup with a little grated cheese sprinkled on top.

You can always buy canned chicken broth if you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to make your own. Either way, have fun and Buon Appetito!

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