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Italian Wedding Soup with Lamb Meatballs


Recipe from Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality. Serves 4-6.

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  • 1 lb. lean ground lamb
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh mint
  • zest from 1 Meyer lemon, finely grated
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 c. vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen field peas or pink-eyed peas (we substituted cannelini beans)
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, torn
  • 4 c. lamb stock or chicken stock
  • 3/4 lb. fresh pasta dough, rolled out and cut into wide noodles (or substitute 3/4 lb. of egg noodles, pre-cooked to al dente).
  • leaves from 3 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish


Adapted from


Step 1

1. For the meatballs: combine lamb, egg, bread crumbs, mint, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then mix well by hand. Form into balls about the size of golf balls (you should have around 18, 1-oz. balls). Place the flour in a shallow bowl, and roll the meatballs in it, tapping off any excess. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches until golden brown on all sides, about 7-9 minutes total. To test to see if they are done, stick a metal knife into the center of a meatball – if the blade comes out hot, they are done (but don’t burn yourself checking!). Drain the meatballs on a paper-towel covered plate and set aside.
2. For the soup: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring to prevent them from burning. Reduce the heat to low and add the thyme and red pepper flakes. Add the peas or beans and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard greens and stock and bring to a simmer. Add the fresh pasta and cook over low heat until tender, 2 to 3 minutes (if using pre-cooked noodles, cook just long enough to heat through). Place the meatballs in the saucepan and cook until heated through, another 1-2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt, and serve, garnished with the parsley leaves.

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