The name does sound like it might be tied to happy dancing and the clinking of champagne glasses, but not quite.  Originally called minestra maritata, it’s one of those peasant dishes born of the” use what you have” school of cooking.  Ingredients, leftovers from a previous meal, garden vegetables and broth, were “married” in the pot—and were often better the next day.  The soup always included a little meat.  This recipe uses flavorful tiny meatballs and the first of the fall greens, along with pasta and vegetables on hand.


  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ lb Italian sausage, hot or sweet—casings removed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • Italian seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, rosemary)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper


  • Olive oil
  • Diced onion, garlic, carrots, celery, to taste
  • 6-8 cups flavorful broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup ditalini pasta
  • 4 oz. spinach, roughly chopped


Mix meatball ingredients.  Using melon scoop, make tiny meatballs and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350’ for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned—set aside.  Heat olive oil in large pot—add all vegetables except spinach and cook until softened.  Add broth, wine, and salt and pepper.  Simmer for ½ hour.  Bring to gentle boil and add ½ cup water and pasta—cook to al dente.  Reduce heat and add meatballs and spinach—simmer a few more minutes. Check and adjust seasoning, then spoon into bowls and top with more Parmesan. 

The Kitchen Hive


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