Chicken and Parmesan Soup with Pasta

by Susan Hanna

This hearty and delicious soup from Yotam Ottolenghi is a bit labour-intensive (it is Ottolenghi, after all) but is worth the effort. Cook a whole chicken with garlic and onion in a pot of water to yield stock. Set the cooked chicken aside to cool while you soften and season vegetables, add tomatoes and stock and simmer. Remove the meat from the chicken and add it to the liquid along with long pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle. Cook until the pasta is done and serve, garnished with red chile and parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Genuine parmesan contains no artificial ingredients. I used No Name tomato paste, which is additive-free. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (around 3 lbs/1.4 kg)
  • 1 whole head garlic, halved, plus 4 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 onion, cut into 4 wedges
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into roughly ½-inch/15 mm cubes (8 oz/220 g net weight)
  • 3 sticks celery, cut at an angle into roughly 0.4-inch/1cm-thick slices (7 oz/200 g net weight)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1½ tbsp (22.5) thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 oz/60 g parmesan, finely grated, plus 1 small piece of rind
  • 5 plum tomatoes, coarsely grated and skins discarded (11 oz/320 g)
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) tomato paste
  • 6 oz/180 g dried long pasta, such as pappardelle or fettucine
  • 0.5 oz/15 g basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 red chile, deseeded and finely chopped

Preparation:

Put the chicken, garlic head halves, onion, 8.5 cups/two litres of water and two and a quarter teaspoons (11 ml) of salt in a large saucepan for which you have a lid. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 80 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a board, leave to cool slightly, then pull off the meat in large shreds; discard the skin, bones and cartilage. Strain the stock into a medium saucepan (discard the solids). Keep warm on a low heat while you get on with everything else.

Put the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat, then sauté the carrot and celery for four minutes, until they start to soften. Add the crushed garlic, bay, thyme and parmesan rind, cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for three minutes, until the tomatoes cook down slightly. Pour in hot stock, half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt and a generous grind of pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

Ladle out 14 oz/400 g of the soup, about 50/50 liquid to solids (avoid the bay and rind), transfer to a blender and blitz smooth. Stir back into the soup pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the pasta, chicken flesh and a good grind of pepper, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Discard the bay leaves and parmesan rind.

Divide the soup between four bowls, top with the basil, chilli, a good grind of pepper and a sprinkling of grated parmesan, and serve with extra parmesan alongside.

From Yotam Ottolenghi