This delicious Homemade Chicken Pasta Soup tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen, but in reality, you can put it together, start to finish in less than an hour! It’s also fabulous with leftover turkey!
Do you recall, the famous quote from Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”? This chicken pasta soup probably should have been called “Long Lost Chicken Soup” or “The Chicken Soup that Got Away” or “Lost but not Forgotten Chicken Soup”. But you know what? Just like Shakespeare’s rose, this soup is super delicious no matter what you call it!
Why would I call this wonderful soup any of those strange names mentioned above? Well, it’s because they’re all quite accurate!
I first published this recipe for Chicken Pasta Soup several years ago. It’s got that wonderful homemade chicken soup flavor, but can be put together easily in less than an hour. It’s also really versatile in that you can use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey, all with delicious results. Everyone who’s tried it seemed to love it and it’s one of those soups that’s popular with kids and grownups like.
The problem arose when the original recipe/post disappeared sometime in the last year. About 9 months ago, I started getting emails from readers who’d made this chicken pasta soup and loved it, but when they went to look for it on The Café website, it was nowhere to be found!
When the first email came, I was pretty sure that the reader just hadn’t searched hard enough for it. I planned to find the recipe and send her a link for it. Recipe posts just don’t vanish into thin air. But when I went to look, sure enough, it was gone. I have no idea what happened, but I’ve been intending to take new pictures and repost the recipe ever since I became aware of this mysterious disappearance.
Finally last week, after receiving many more emails requesting the recipe, I made the delicious chicken pasta soup again and we captured new images. So… voila, here’s the beloved Chicken Pasta Soup! I think I’ll put a lock on the post this time!
What makes this chicken soup such a favorite?
If you’ve never tasted this chicken pasta soup, you might be wondering why it would be such a favorite that readers would be searching for it and sending sad emails about not being able to find it. I think there are a number of reasons:
- This soup is easy to make. The hardest part is cutting up the veggies and chicken. Other than that, the soup pretty much makes itself.
- As this soup simmers, the whole house is filled with a wonderful, old-fashioned-chicken-soup aroma. So delightful on a chilly, gray day!
- The soup is loaded with flavor. A few wonderful “flavor enhancers” like:
- Shallots, which taste like a combination of garlic and onion but more refined. Shallots are often used in French cuisine and I think they impart a really nice, “fine” flavor to soups, stews, sauces, etc.
- Bay leaves are simmered in the chicken broth adding a subtle, but delicious layer of flavor.
- Lots of fresh herbs, actually a double layer of herbs! Fresh rosemary and thyme are added as the soup simmers and another portion is stirred in at the end. See what I mean? Tons of delicious flavor with a few simple steps.
- As I mentioned earlier, this soup is universally loved. Children gobble it up and adults always come back for second helpings.
What is Acini Di Pepe Pasta?
This chicken pasta soup recipe calls for Acini Di Pepe (pronounced ah-CHEE-nee dee PAY-pay) pasta. Acini Di Pepe is a delicious tiny pasta with a round shape. Acini Di Pepe actually means “seeds of pepper” or “peppercorns” in Italian but this has nothing to do with the flavor of the pasta, rather just the size and shape.
Acini Di Pepe is perfect for soups and is delicious in pasta salads. I love it in this soup because, although it does expand during cooking, it doesn’t tend to soak up as much of the broth as other kinds of pasta do. Acini Di Pepe can be found in many larger grocery stores along with the other varieties of pasta. I find that most grocery stores will group the tiny pasta, such as orzo, pastina, Israeli couscous and Acini Di Pepe together.
If you can’t find it at your local store, Acini Di Pepe can be ordered online or you can substitute one of the other tiny types of pasta mentioned above.
Know someone who could use a little extra love and care? This soup is the perfect thing to take to them! Every warm, delicious spoonful is loaded with that homey, comfort taste that exudes nurture. The recipe makes a big pot of soup so there will be plenty to enjoy yourself with extra to give away!
Café Tips for making this Chicken Pasta Soup
- This soup reheats wonderfully on the stovetop or in the microwave. The flavor actually seems to get better and better as the ingredients meld and marry together. It makes a great lunch at home, at work or at school on a chilly day!
- When you add the Acini Di Pepe pasta to the soup, you won’t even see it at first. Don’t be tempted to add more. Within the 8-10 minutes cooking time, there will be plenty!
- Although the Acini Di Pepe pasta doesn’t absorb as much broth as other pasta might, you may need to add a little chicken broth after the soup is stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.
- I love the low sodium (and regular) organic free range chicken broth from Trader Joes. It has a beautiful yellow color with no artificial dyes and great homemade flavor.
- Need a gift idea for someone who loves to cook? I’m crazy about my Staub Dutch oven pot. It’s one of those pots that will last forever, it cleans up beautifully and always looks like a work of art.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
P.S. If you want a chicken soup that makes itself while you’re at work or out playing, you’ll love this Lemon Orzo Slow Cooker Chicken Soup.
This delicious Homemade Chicken Pasta Soup tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen, but in reality, you can put it together, start to finish in less than an hour! It's also fabulous with leftover turkey!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup finely chopped shallots about 2 large shallots
- 3 medium celery stalks diced
- 8 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 12 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 medium bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and thyme each
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt if you're using regular salt, start with a half teaspoon and add more, if needed.
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup Acini di pepe pasta You can also use pastina, orzo or Israeli couscous, also known as pearl pasta.
- 3-4 cups leftover turkey or chicken diced, rotisserie chicken works great
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and thyme (each)
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add chopped shallots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add celery and carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the broth, bay leaves, fresh rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil then reduce to a steady simmer and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and add the Acini di pepe pasta. Stir and return to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 more minutes, or until pasta is tender.
Add diced chicken (or turkey), rosemary and thyme. Stir well and remove from heat. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, as needed. Cover and allow soup to sit for 15 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and more detailed tips.
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