Recipes Mains:

Nonna's Chicken Soup

Athena Calderone, Cook Beautiful
Nonna’s Chicken Soup


Serves 6-8

1 whole chicken
1 bone-in chicken breast (about 1 ½ pounds)
2 yellow onions, 1 diced, 1 halved
5 or 6 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
5 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium parsnips, chopped
2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly cracked pepper
1 pound dried acini di pepe pasta, or another small pasta such as tubettini, orzo, or ditalini
1 small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Grated pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving


Place the whole chicken and breast in a large stockpot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsnips, stock, salt, and 2 cups water—or enough to just cover the chicken. Season with pepper. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, covered, until the chicken begins to fall off the bone, about 1½ hours. Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces, onion halves, and thyme sprigs. Discard the chicken bones and skin, then tear the meat into bite-size pieces and return it to the pot. Taste for seasoning. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. To serve, place a heaping spoonful of pasta into individual bowls and ladle the soup over the pasta. Sprinkle it with parsley, pepper, and a hearty helping of cheese, and serve with lemon wedges on the side. Leftover soup (without the pasta) can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. The soup can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

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