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Chicken Vegetable Soup with Tiny Pasta

No recipe image available.This hearty soup is chock full of vegetables and chicken. Pastina, Italian for 'tiny dough', refers to any small pasta shape such as orzo.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs
3 medium carrots, peeled - divided use
1 medium onion, quartered
1 celery rib, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
10 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
9 cups water
2 pounds Swiss chard
1/2 cup pastina, (tiny pasta such as orzo or acini di peppe)
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Directions:

  1. Remove skin from drumsticks and thighs; discard skin.
  2. Take one of the carrots and cut into quarters. Place in a large pot with the chicken, onion, celery and salt. Tie bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves in a small piece of cheesecloth and add to pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 1 1/4 hours, or until chicken is tender.
  3. While the chicken cooks, chop remaining 2 carrots into 1/2-inch dice. Discard stems of chard and cut leaves crosswise into 3-inch strips. Set aside.
  4. Strain contents of pot; reserving stock (pour back into empty pot). Discard herb-filled cheesecloth. Purée vegetables in a blender and return to stock.
  5. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken and set aside.
  6. Bring stock and vegetable purée to a gentle boil. Add reserved chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chard and cook for 5 more minutes. Add pastina and zucchini and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in reserved chicken. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 8 servings.