The Best Chicken Noodle Soup
I’ve decided to share my recipe for The Best Chicken Noodle Soup. We’re in the heart of soup season, one of my favorite times of year. Not only am I obsessed – OBSESSED! – with broth, as a working mom I love anything that can be made in one big pot and that can serve the next day as leftovers. Of course, at TIK we’re also all about doing things the best way (not the quickest way) and that means this is a more complicated soup recipe than you might have made before, but trust me that it is super easy. And yes, it’s the absolute best chicken noodle soup you can make.
The keys are to do it over 2 days so that you can make an excellent broth, and to make the noddles from scratch. It is not as daunting as it sounds, we use a wonderful Tuscan pasta called “pici” from our friend Chef Silvia Baracchi of our Cooking under the Tuscan Sun culinary vacation.
For those of you with a pressure cooker (or InstantPot), you can do it in 1 day if you start in the morning.
The Best Chicken Noodle Soup
For the chicken and the broth:
- 1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds – preferably free range)
- 2 carrots, ends removed andcut in half
- 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
- 1 large yellow onions, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 T salt
For the pasta:
- about 125 ml (4.5 oz) water
- 250 g (9 oz) flour
- Pinch of salt
For the soup:
- 2 medium carrots, cut on the bias into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut on the bias into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 quarts chicken bone broth
- pici pasta
Place the whole chicken (no giblets please, but the neck is fine) with all the other ingredients in a large pot on the stove and add water to cover completely. Heat to a boil and cook for about 60 minutes, skimming off any foam as it rises, or until the meat is fully cooked. Remove the chicken (careful – it’s hot!) and transfer to a cutting board. Remove the large parts of meat – the breasts, legs, thighs, but don’t worry if you don’t get it all.
Next, use a cleaver or chef’s knife to break up the remaining chicken carcass. You want the inside of the bones to be exposed, so give even those drumsticks a few good whacks. Place the carcass and the water and vegetables from the pot in a slow cooker and cook on low for 24 hours. (If you have a pressure cooker you can cook it on high pressure for 4 hours).
In the meantime, either shred the chicken or cut it into cubes, and set aside until ready to use. (Refrigerate it once it has cooled sufficiently.)
When the broth is ready, strain it and let it cool a bit so that you can skim off some of the fat. (Or, if you like chicken fat leave it in, it just makes for a heartier soup).
Make the pici pasta. Place the flour onto a board with a well in the center, then add water slowly as you mix until the dough comes together. You want a soft but not sticky mixture. Knead the dough until smooth. If the dough becomes hard, cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes until it “loosens” up.
Set aside for 20 minutes, then roll into a large disc about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the disc into narrow strips. Roll each piece by hand into a snake about 1/2 cm in diameter and 30-60 cm long. Keep rolling until all the noodles have been formed.
Next, in a large soup pot or dutch oven heat 1 T olive oil (or 1 T of the chicken fat if you kept it). Cook the celery and carrots on medium heat for about 6 minutes, until softened but not browned. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, simmering until the vegetables are tender (about 5 more minutes). Season for salt.
Add the pici pasta and cook until the noodles float, then add the chicken and cook to heat. (You can add as much or as little chicken as you like – and save the rest for another recipe).
Serve and enjoy!
Cook’s note: you should have more broth than you need. Just cool any remaining broth in the fridge or freeze it until you need it.
If you’re looking for a more traditional Tuscan preparation of pici pasta, check out this recipe for Pici pasta with cherry tomatoes and herbs.
By Peg Kern
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