My partner tells a story, whenever he would fly to Italy, his Nonna would always make them a bowl of the most chickeny chicken broth you could imagine, with homemade fafalle and big chunks of chicken breast. He swears there would have been 48 hours of preparation involved. When they arrived at the village she would place a bowl of steaming broth in front of them, and they would be nourished, renewed from the long intercontinental flight from Australia. It was a tough ask, big shoes to fill, but that soup sounded so fantastic, and it has such a place in his heart, that I had to try my hand at ‘Nonna’s chicken noodle soup’. Heavens, it is good! I will only make it with the Thirlmere chickens I buy from the farmers market. My partner tells me Nonna would slaughter one of the household chickens for the broth, so it was particularly tasty, and very different from anything made from standard commercial chickens. When I buy a chicken, I cut away the marylands, breasts and wings. For this broth, I use the carcass, and sometimes the wings to make the most chickeny all-natural chicken stock I can muster. Furthermore, I poach the chicken breast in the stock, before straining and skimming the stock one final time.
Serves 2 (with left over bits and bobs to freeze for next time)
|1||small carrot (optional)|
|1||cup||dried mini fafalle**|
|1||teaspoon||fresh parsley, chopped|
|sea salt and fresh ground pepper|
|good olive oil|
* If I haven’t any celery, which I often don’t, I thrown in some celery seeds, which I keep in the pantry for such occasions.
** On this occasion, I sliced up some left over fresh lasagne sheets I had in the freezer. Making this dish is a great opportunity to use the cutest, most exciting pasta you’ve come across, whatever tickles your fancy. Ordinarily we use the fafallini.
To make stock, place chicken carcass, chicken wings, onion, celery, carrot, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Slowly bring to the boil, removing all scum from the surface. Simmer for less than an hour, continuing to remove scum.
Poach the chicken breast in the stock till just cooked (approximately ten minutes). Remove chicken breast and set aside.
Place a colander over a large bowl. Pour stock through colander into the bowl. *** The stock will likely settle, with remaining particles falling to the bottom of the bowl. (The longer you leave the broth at this point, the more these particles will fall to the bottom, allowing the broth to be increasingly clear. You can make this in advance to get an exceptionally clear broth, and simply poach the chicken breast in the cloudy, lower portion of the stock.)
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook pasta according to directions on the packet. Strain pasta, and rinse.
Place a fine sieve over a saucepan, and ladle stock from the top of the bowl, back into a clean saucepan to bring to a rapid boil.
To serve, divide pasta between serving bowls, slice chicken breast and add to bowls. Pour over piping hot broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, and a slug of extremely good quality extra virgin olive oil (I would recommend a fresh, fruity oil).
*** Remove the meat from the chicken carcass and wings. I freeze this with the left over broth for use next time. You can also reserve the vegetables from the stock for use in a chunky soup. Otherwise, compost them or feed them to your neighbour’s chooks.