When coming in from raking the autumn leaves or returning from a brisk walk, nothing is more comforting than a hearty bowl of hot soup to warm you up.
It takes little time to get this soup on the table if you prepare the vegetables and chicken earlier in the day. Using homemade stock is always healthier and better tasting than store bought. If there is no homemade stock stashed in the freezer, grab a carton of stock from the pantry. The fresh chicken breast will infuse the carton stock with a deeper flavor and be absolutely delicious.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut on the bias
1 celery stalk, peeled, cut on the bias
2 sprigs of fresh Thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried
8 cups homemade chicken stock (see my recipe blog for Brodo)
Or a good quality store-bought chicken stock
¾ cup orzo, pastina or other small pasta shape
6 ounces baby spinach or cooked escarole
1 large boneless chicken breast, chopped (to equal 1-½ cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sauté the vegetables
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, spinach or escarole if using and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes more. Add the stock and chicken increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 15 minutes to blend the flavors and cook the chicken.
Cook the pasta
Add the pasta to the simmering soup and cook until the pasta is al dente, 3 to 4 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach has wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Serve immediately and pass the remaining cheese at the table. If not serving right away, cook pasta separately and add to the soup when about to serve. Makes 4 servings
Cook's Tip: If you love soup, keep homemade stock in the freezer or a good quality stock in the pantry. Wrap chicken breasts separately ready to be defrosted for when you want to make a quick soup.
Buon Appetito! From Amelia’s Kitchen