Ina Garten's All-Time Favorite Soup Makes Tasty Leftovers

We would take advice from Ina Garten about a lot of things, but there is no topic we would trust her on more than the homey appeal of soup. While Garten may be famous as an aspirational, Hamptons-based host, she's just as well-known for her laid-back attitude toward hosting and preparing food. For Garten, flavor and comfort take center stage over inventive or complicated meals, and that really shines through when she talks about her favorite soup. When it comes time for something warming that's easy and delicious, Garten whips up a batch of Italian wedding soup.

Italian wedding soup is a mixture of simple chicken broth with spinach, pasta, and meatballs. On Instagram, Garten called it her "all-time favorite soup for dinner," noting that "it's just as good reheated for lunch the next day." Her recipe calls for a chicken sausage meatball that's baked instead of fried, making it easier to prepare while the broth simmers and quicker to clean up when you're done; the broth itself is based on homemade chicken stock, which gives it a great depth of flavor without the need for a long cooking time. With vegetables, meatballs, greens, and pasta, it's a rustic, hearty soup, but it can still come together in under an hour. Made in a big batch, it's perfect for when you want a satisfying dinner that can be turned into multiple meals throughout the week.

Italian wedding soup is a delicious and easy marriage of savory flavors

Wedding soup's name actually gives a little hint as to why it's so good as leftovers. The translation from Italian refers not to actual weddings but to the marriage of ingredients and flavors in the soup itself. And soups like Italian wedding really do get better with age — stews and sauces that sit refrigerated for days continue to "cook," with the ingredients absorbing more flavors from the broth as the whole mixture has extra time to marinate. Harsh flavors soften, and everything melds together into a more complex, satisfying meal. For a weekday soup that can be thrown together without too much simmering like Ina Garten's Italian wedding recipe, that effect will be even stronger.

Another great thing about Italian wedding soup is that you can swap out ingredients depending on what you have, and it will still make great leftovers as long as you stick to the general formula. The meatballs can be chicken like Garten's, but beef or pork are just as good. Any slightly bitter green — like escarole or chard — can work in place of the spinach, and while orzo is the traditional pasta, you could easily use stars, ditalini, or even Israeli couscous instead. As long as you combine a flavorful broth with that mix of ingredients, you'll honor the spirit of this Italian peasant dish and be ready to feed yourself for days.