This homemade Italian style chicken soup with stracciatella is the kind of soup that
Nonna the doctor ordered!
It’s that time of year again, when tissues and Chapstick are the latest accessories.
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Yes, I’m talking about cold and flu season. Of course, everyone will suggest that you drink orange juice and have chicken soup when you’re sick, but I hate to tell you that that can of Campbell’s is just not going to do the trick.
This homemade Italian style chicken soup is not a recipe for a heavy, vegetable and noodle laden pot of soup, but a light, brothy and deliciously simple chicken soup. I cannot stress the word “simple” enough.
It used to be that one could buy an “older” chicken, which was really much better for making soup, but that is not the case anymore, so I just buy a whole organic chicken.
How to roast a chicken with excellent results.
You don’t have to add pastina to the soup, if you’d like to make it gluten-free, but my favorite type of pastina is called “acini de pepe” which translates to “peppercorns” in English.
You can find it in most grocery stores, but if you can find Delverde or De Cecco brands, they are the pasta brands available in the US which I love. They will make a big difference in the outcome (no mushy, starchy pasta in your soup).
Whenever I make stracciatella, people seem to think it is very difficult to make, but nothing could be farther from the truth. So let’s make some really simple and delicious Italian style chicken soup!
Homemade Italian Style Chicken Soup with Stracciatella
- one whole organic chicken (or some necks and backs)
- Kosher salt or sea salt
- 1/3 cup pastina, such as acini de pepe, or orzo
For the stracciatella
- 2 eggs
- about 3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs or semolina
- about 3 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Kosher or sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Wash the chicken, remove and wash the giblets and neck, if included, and place everything in a large pot (I used an 8qt pot). Fill about 3/4 full of water, add two teaspoons of salt, place over medium high heat, and bring to a boil.
When scum starts to appear, remove it with a spoon, and discard. Lower the temperature, so that the soup is simmering gently.
Let the soup simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, then remove from heat. Using a flat metal strainer, lift the chicken out of the pot and place on a plate. Remove the giblets and neck, if they are also in the soup. Strain the broth into another pot, taste for salt, adding more to taste. Place half of the broth into a container to freeze for another time.
Use the chicken to make chicken pot pie, chicken salad, or any way you like. You may also add some pieces of chicken to the soup.
About 10 minutes before you want to serve the soup, cook the pastina in a separate pot until al dente.You can cook the pasta directly in the broth, but it will make the soup cloudy. If you don’t mind it not being clear, and you don’t want to wash another pot, just cook the pastina right in the broth.
Meanwhile, bring the broth to a low simmer, and prepare the stracciatella.
How to Make Italian Stracciatella (for soup)
Please note that the measurements for the egg/breadcrumb(or semolina)/cheese ingredients are not critical. I never measure them, but I do use equal amounts of crumbs and cheese. Sometimes it’s thicker, and sometimes more runny, but it always tastes great.
Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add the breadcrumbs/semolina.
Next, add the Parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper and parsley, if using, and mix well.
The consistency will be like a runny paste. When the pastina is ready, drain the water and add it to the simmering broth. Next, pour in the stracciatella mixture, and stir it into the soup. It will immediately turn “fluffy” and float on top of the soup.
Taste for salt again, and add some black pepper if desired.
If you like a little more flavor, you can add a little Better Than Bouillon Chicken paste, however, if you used a good quality, organic chicken, this should be unnecessary. That’s all you need to do, and you’ll have another batch ready for another meal. You can also use the chicken broth to make Leek and Potato Soup, for example, or any other broth based soup. It will make the soups taste better and is more natural than using bouillon.
I hope you don’t get sick this winter, but if you do, don’t reach for a can–make this instead. You’ll be so glad you did.
TIP: no one feels like cooking when they’re sick, so making this homemade Italian style chicken soup with stracciatella when you’re not sick, and freezing some, is like a form of insurance! If you do, don’t freeze it with the pasta or stracciatella, just freeze the broth.
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