Three cheers for a new way to make chicken soup! Using the Parmesan rind to flavor the broth is one of those amazing kitchen tricks that isn’t just an ace-in-the-hole for complex flavor, it also stretch an ingredient’s use further. This recipe includes a homemade almond and herb pesto, however if you want to cut down on time, a high-quality store-bought pesto will work well. Taste before dolloping on the soup—some store-bought pestos can benefit from a squeeze of lemon juice.
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small leeks, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
3 large carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup), plus the rind (optional)
4 ounces orecchiette pasta (1 cup)
8 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken (2 cups)
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon), divided
¼ cup roasted almonds
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
How to Make It
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add leeks and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and Parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for flavors to meld, 12 to 15 minutes.
Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and chickpeas and continue to cook until pasta is tender and chicken and chickpeas are warm, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and discard Parmesan rind, if using. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Meanwhile, combine almonds, basil, parsley, and remaining 7 tablespoons oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a food processor; process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in grated Parmesan and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve soup topped with pesto.
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