This week feels like a summer vacation in the middle of the winter. It’s been one of those weeks where you notice just how long you’ve been indoors, and it feels like magic to get a little sun on your nose and eat dinner outside. We begin peeling off our winter layers like onions, fully abandoning the winter coat, which I don’t miss it at all. This Italian Chicken Soup is a reminder of summer tomatoes to come. Who says you can’t eat soup year round? It’s like a bear hug in a bowl, and it reminds me of all the flavors from our trip to Italy. What started as Pasta e Fagiole (pasta and white beans), turned into a sort of lovely chicken noodle soup, which is perfect topped with parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Let’s get started on this recipe.
First, I cut the vegetables into two inch pieces for the sofrito. Sofrito is just finely chopped vegetables cooked down in the pot. I’m using red bell pepper, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Then pulse them to a fine chop in the food processor. Start with a dutch oven over medium high heat and add some olive oil. Add your sofrito and let it cook and soften for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next, add your oregano and bay leaves and cook an additional minute just to open up the spices. Then add the chicken breasts, whole, the fire roasted tomatoes, the chicken broth, and the white beans. Fill your tomato can with water and add this as well to make sure the chicken is fully immersed in liquid. Then bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it using two forks. You know the drill. Then I like to salt the chicken before adding it back to the broth. Pour in your noodles and bring to a medium simmer, but not a boil. Let this simmer with the lid off for about 8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Then serve topped with parsley and parmesan cheese. See the full recipe below.
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 qt chicken broth
- 2 15 oz cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup dry short pasta such as shells or macaroni
- salt for seasoning
- chopped parsley for serving
- grated parmesan for serving
- Roughly chop the onion, carrots, bell pepper and celery into 1-2 inch pieces. Add these plus the garlic to an 8 cup food processor. Pulse and finely chop the vegetables until coarse, but not pureed.
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot, add the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes, or until softened and aromatic. Add the oregano and bay leaves and cook an additional minute.
- Add the chicken, chicken broth, beans, and tomatoes to the pot. Fill up the tomatoes can with water and add this to the broth with a couple of generous pinches of salt. Stir. Make sure the chicken is completely covered. If not, add more water.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and cover, simmering for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a bowl and shred using two forks. Salt the shredded chicken. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in the noodles. Let these cook on low, uncovered for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Taste to see if the soup needs more salt.
- Serve with fresh parsley and grated parmesan if desired.