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Italian Chicken Soup with Pasta and Tomatoes

We like to think of this recipe as an Italian grandma's take on classic chicken noodle soup.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Basil & Tomatoes

Photography: Armando Rafael

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January/February 2017

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (4 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces with the backbone, plus 8 extra wings (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 large sprigs parsley
  • 2 large sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, plus freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds (1 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • One 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 ounces cooked ditalini
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Red-pepper flakes and grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with 14 cups water, chicken pieces, backbone, wings, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Skim foam, reduce heat, and gently simmer for 25 minutes. Remove chicken (except wings); continue simmering while you discard skin and remove meat from bones. Cover meat and refrigerate; return bones to pot and simmer 3 1/2 hours more.

  2. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids, including bones and wings. Skim fat and transfer broth to a clean pot. Add onions, carrots, fennel, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, 25 minutes.

  3. Cut or tear reserved chicken into 3 cups of bite-size pieces. (You'll end up with an extra cup of meat; save it for a salad or a sandwich.) Add to broth, along with ditalini, basil, and lemon juice. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with red-pepper flakes and Parmesan, and serve.

Cook's Notes

The chicken and broth can be made up to 3 days in advance. Refrigerate separately in covered containers, then proceed to finish the soup. If making ahead, refrigerate the broth at least overnight to allow the fat to accumulate at the top, then lift off with a spoon before proceeding.

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