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For Italian-style chicken soup, add a 2-inch rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1 bay leaf with the stock, then add 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and cooked acini di pepe (peppercorn-size) pasta at the end. For Middle Eastern-style soup, use rice instead of pasta and add 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill and 3 Tbs. lemon juice at the end.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced 
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced 
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken, homemade (see related recipe at left) or purchased
  • 2 cups cooked pasta shapes or rice (optional) 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Warm a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrots, onion and celery, and sauté the vegetables until they have softened and released some of their moisture, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the chicken and pasta and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).