Brodo di pollo. That’s Italian for “the most gosh darn comforting and restorative chicken soup ever to cross the lips of someone who’s under the weather or just needs some soothing sustenance.”
Brodo di pollo is essentially Italian chicken soup. And it’s perhaps the most comforting sort of chicken noodle soup. Just ask any Italian. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s got pasta. It’s sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. It’s made by nonnas everywhere. And it’s the perfect restorative when you’re feeling a little—or a lot—under the weather or in need of some serious spiritual soothing. Unlike many chicken soups that are crowded with just about everything but the kitchen sink, this simple classic is relatively spartan—intentionally so given that it’s for those who are convalescing. But what’s especially fantastic is that, in typical frugal Italian home cook fashion, the chicken and vegetables that are simmered to make the broth can be reserved for another meal on another day. Less waste as well as less work for you.–Angie Zoobkoff
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How Has Chicken Soup Healed You?
One of our recipe testers who tried this brodo di pollo recipe offhandedly commented, “I’ve been raised on chicken soup as a cure for pretty much everything—and I mean EVERYTHING, including colds, heartache, and puberty.” Chicken soup for the soul, indeed. If you’ve ever experienced a chicken soup that has healed you in some way, we’d love to know. Kindly let us know in a comment below.
Brodo di Pollo ~ Italian Chicken Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium (3 1/2 oz) onion chopped
- 2 medium (5 oz) carrots thickly sliced
- 1 celery stalk thickly sliced
- 4 to 5 tablespoons passata (or substitute canned crushed tomatoes that you purée in a blender and then strain)
- 4 to 6 chicken drumsticks or 2 chicken legs preferably free-range
- 8 1/2 cups cold water
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube (optional)
- Sea salt
- 5 ounces long, thin pasta, such as taglierini or angel hair (or substitute a tiny pasta such as stelline, farfalline, or tortellini)
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan to serve
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, and passata. Place the chicken drumsticks or legs in the saucepan, add the water, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil.
- Remove the lid, add the half stock cube, if using, and season with Sea salt. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes, until the broth reduces slightly, concentrating its flavor.
- Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente or according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Strain the broth into a large, clean bowl and reserve the chicken and vegetables for another meal (such as adding them to some rewarmed leftover broth the next day when you’re feeling stronger and able to tolerate solid foods).
- Divide the pasta among 4 shallow bowls and ladle the hot chicken broth over it. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve. [Editor’s Note: As one of our recipe testers said to us, “You may not think such a small amount of Parmesan would matter. It does.”]
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
A perfect broth for a healing body, this brodo di pollo is mild, nourishing, and ready in just over an hour with less than 15 minutes hands-on time. This was an easy, satisfying soup and we will make it again.
We served the soup with lemon slices and herbs. We saved half the broth for the next day and added the carrots and chicken meat. Next time, we’ll double the recipe. Why not serve 8 instead of 4? Or save half in the freezer?
We made the chicken broth, shredded the chicken, and added back the carrots which turned it into a very hearty brodo di pollo soup that made a simple but satisfying dinner. I decided to use angel hair pasta, which I thought appeared very similar to the pasta shown in the recipe photo. This worked very well.
I used 5 chicken legs, which weighed 1 1/2 pounds. I also think you could make this recipe with chicken thighs or drumsticks, as mentioned in the recipe. With the chicken and carrots added, this Italian chicken soup would serve 6 as a meal.
Originally published December 22, 2020