Chicken Soup with Pastina
- Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Free-range chickens make superior stock. I also like the richness that turkey wings add to a chicken stock, so I use them all the time. You can save the chicken parts you need for stock over time. Keep them in a sealable bag or container in the freezer, or perhaps your butcher can sell you what you need. Remove the livers from the giblet bag before making stock--livers will add a bitter flavor.
- 3 pounds chicken and/or turkey wings, backs, necks, and giblets (not including the liver), preferably from free-range or organically raised birds
- 8quarts water
- 1large onion (about 1/2 pound), cut in half
- 3cups carrots, peeled and sliced 1-inch thick
- 3stalks celery, cut crosswise into 4 pieces
- 6cloves garlic, minced
- 6sprigs fresh Italian parsley
- 6whole black peppercorns
- 1tablespoon salt
- Rind of Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (scraped and washed)
- 1/2 to 1cup pastina for 1 quart of cooked soup
- Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
- Wash the chicken parts and/or turkey wings thoroughly under cold running water, and drain them well. Put them with the water in a large stockpot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium, and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off the surface foam and fat occasionally.
- Add to the pot all the remaining ingredients except the pastina and cheese for serving. Bring the pot to a boil again, occasionally skimming the fan and foam off the top. Lower the heat until the liquid is “perking”–one or two large bubbles rising to the surface at a time. Partially cover and cook for 2 hours, adding salt to taste, about 1 tablespoon in all. When the solids are cool, pick out the carrot pieces and bones from the pieces of meat. Set aside to be added to soup when served.
- Strain the soup through a fine strainer and/or cheese cloth.
- Let set and de-fat the soup.
- When ready to serve, bring one quart of soup or more to a boil. Add the pastina and bring to a boil, about 3 to 4 minutes, and taste the pastina for doneness. Add the carrots and chicken pieces if desired, and serve with grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Note: If you’d like to keep some soup for later, just freeze without the pastina for future use.
Kids Can: Clean the onion and garlic; pull celery stalks off; and strain the cool stock.
Reprinted with permission from Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Family Kitchen: Nonna’s Birthday Surprise (Running Press, 2013).