Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Italian Chicken Soup

This soup is so easy that you can prepare it in less than an hour, yet it tastes like it's been simmering half the day. It doesn't freeze well (zucchini gets too mushy), but with speed cooking like this, it isn't necessary to make it ahead. First I'll give you the recipe; then I'll put my modifications at the end...

Serves 4.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 9-ounce package fresh cheese ravioli
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and carrot. Cover and simmer until carrot is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Add ravioli and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Now for my notes... I don't put the garlic in until just before the peppers, onion and spices are done. I don't want to take the chances that the garlic will burn or overcook. I'll have to write a whole post on garlic sometime. Finally, I use fresh tortellini instead of ravioli. It's more bite size. Pipsqueak doesn't like cheese filled pastas, so I used a chicken and prosciutto filled tortellini.

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