A nice, warm bowl of chicken noodle soup makes any day better, don’t you think? A chilly winter day is even better. We changed up our “noodle” for pastina. Pastina is just “tiny pasta” in Italian. These can come in a variety of shapes but most common are stars and tubes. I love using it in soup as it’s fun for kids and gives soup a more delicate yet hearty feel.
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups celery, chopped
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried thyme
12 cups (3 quarts) stock or broth
3 bay leaves
1 cup pastina
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add butter to melt. Generously season one side of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Place chicken breast, seasoned side down, in stockpot. Season other side. Cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip chicken breasts and cook another 3 minutes. (Note, if chicken doesn’t easily flip, give it another minute or so). Remove from stockpot and set aside.
Leave residual butter and brown bits in the pot. Add shallot, cooking 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, parsley and thyme. Gently mix to incorporate. Cook 5-7 minutes.
Add broth and gently scrape up any browned bits off bottom of pan. Add back chicken and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and cook 15 minutes. Using tongs, gently remove chicken and shred.
Return shredded chicken to pot. Add pastina. Cook covered on low heat for 10 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and stir to melt. Remove bay leaves.
Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper) as needed. Serve with crusty baguette or crackers.