Italian Wedding Risotto


Inspired by the classic Italian wedding soup, this heartier risotto is filled with just-wilted spinach and topped with crispy, garlicky meatballs. Use a cookie scoop to quickly portion out the meatballs; make a double batch and freeze half to whip up this risotto in a flash. Remove the risotto from the heat while it's still a little soupy—it will thicken slightly as it rests. 

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
4 to 6 servings


  • 1 pound ground pork

  • ½ cup panko

  • 1 ½ ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated with a Microplane (about 2/3 cup), divided, plus more for garnish

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste and for garnish

  • 4 cups lower-sodium chicken stock or broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (2 ounces), divided

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked arborio rice (about 10 1/2 ounces)

  • ¾ cup dry white wine

  • 3 cups packed fresh baby spinach (about 3 ounces), torn


  1. Preheat oven to broil with rack 9 inches from heat. Combine pork, panko, 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, parsley, egg, 2 teaspoons chopped garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix gently with hands until just combined. Roll mixture into 20 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each). Place meatballs 1 inch apart on a broiler-safe baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil until browned and cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes. Set cooked meatballs aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

  2. Combine stock and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low.

  3. Heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, celery, and remaining chopped garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook, stirring often, until almost completely reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup warm stock mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add remaining stock mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until liquid has been absorbed after each addition, until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.

  4. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in spinach; cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Divide risotto and meatballs among bowls. Drizzle with oil; garnish with additional cheese, parsley, and pepper.

    Italian Wedding Risotto
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Make Ahead

Uncooked meatballs can be frozen up to 2 months. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; freeze 2 hours. Transfer to a freezer bag. Let thaw before broiling.

Suggested Pairing

Herbal, red-fruited Chianti Classico: Ruffino Riserva Ducale

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