Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
- The Meatballs:
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1/2 pound ground beef (80-85% lean. The less lean, the better)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons (6 cloves) garlic, crushed or minced
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- The Soup:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced (with green, leafy tops reserved)
- 1 tablespoon (3 cloves) garlic, crushed or minced
- 1 bunch (about 1 packed cup) fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup cooking sherry wine (if you wish to leave this out, simply add another cup of broth. NOTE: Also, see the yellow “Jeffrey Sez” section for a word on sherry and its intensity)
- 7 cups chicken or garlic broth (such as 7 teaspoons Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 7 cups water)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (optional. NOTE: The sherry and juices from the sausage will already give the soup a rich, savory flavor and you don’t want it to be too over the top. If you wish, once cooking is complete, stir in 1/2 teaspoon and taste. If you want more, add more to your liking. Adding salt as desired just before serving gives you the control.)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup acini di pepe (pearl) pasta (NOTE: This may not seem like much when dry but trust me, it grows to about 3x the size and absorbs plenty of broth once cooked. While acini di pepe is preferred, you can alternatively use pastina, ditalini or orzo. If using pastina, the same amount applies as for the acini di pepe. If using ditalini or orzo, you can use up to 3/4 – 1 cup.)
- 5-8 ounces baby spinach
Cooking sherry wine is a strong mix of sweet & savory. I use 1 cup in my recipe because I enjoy that intensity. However, you can absolutely halve the sherry to 1/2 cup or even 1/4 cup and just make up for it with another 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup of broth, respectively. To that point, if you feel you added more sherry than you wished, you can easily rectify this by adding more broth or simply water at the end until it’s to your liking. Or, as stated in the ingredients, you can leave the sherry out completely and sub for more broth (we want 8 cups of liquid in the pot when all’s said and done). But if you leave the sherry out, you’ll likely definitely want to add at least 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoned salt (or more to taste) to make up for flavor.
If you want even more soup, add up to another 1-2 cups of broth after pressure cooking. You can adjust any seasonings to taste at the end.
Use 1/4 cup of acini di pepe if you want minimal pasta in your soup (there will still be plenty) and no more than 1/2 cup if you want a substantial amount. Just keep in mind that we don’t want to go overboard on the pasta or this will become a creamy pearl pasta and meatball dish rather than a soup since the more pasta in the pot means the more absorbing of broth by the pasta and less for slurping as soup. It will still taste insanely delicious as a pearly, meaty pasta dish but this is a soup we’re making here! If you’re worried about your pasta portion and want more control, simply boil about 1/4 cup separately on the stove according to package directions and add to individual soup bowls when serving.
If you want a spicier soup, use hot Italian sausage instead of sweet.
Want to use a different sausage (such as chicken sausage) for your meatballs? Go for it! Just know it will alter the taste of the broth differently from Italian sausage, but it will still be delicious!
Don’t care for sausage? Feel free to make my classic meatballs here. Follow Steps 1 & 2 and then roll them into a size between a pinball to ping-pong ball.
Want the Jewish version of this soup? Try my outrageous Jewish Wedding Soup which subs mini matzo balls for the meatballs! It’ll make you kvell!
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the meatball ingredients and mix together well by hand (almost like making a dough) until it binds together nicely and forms one large meatball. From there, grab enough meat to roll each meatball between the size of a pinball and ping-pong ball and set aside on a plate. You should have between 35-45 when done.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté on and adjust so it’s on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of the oil heating, add the meatballs in two batches (we don’t want them over-crowding the bottom of the pot) and flash-sear for about 30 seconds on each side. Carefully remove the meatballs with tongs or a slotted spoon when done (they’ll still be delicate and not fully cooked by this point).
- Add the other 2 tablespoons olive oil and then the shallots, carrots and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer. Then, add the basil leaves and stir until wilted, about 1 more minute.
- Add the sherry and simmer the veggies for 2 minutes and then add the broth, garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, oregano, reserved leafy tops from celery, pasta and stir. Carefully add the flash-seared meatballs back to the pot. Then, top with spinach but do not stir. Secure the lid, move the valve to sealing position, hit Pressure Cook or Manual at high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release when done.
- Give everything a stir and give the soup a taste. If you feel it needs some seasoned salt (many likely won’t), NOW is the time to add it (and just start with 1/2 teaspoons as mentioned in the ingredients and add more to taste).
- Ladle into bowls and enjoy!