Category Archives: soup

Mushroom Barley Soup (can be vegetarian)

I have the funniest story about me and this soup. The first time I made it, I received the recipe from a friend. I didn’t see that it said .5 lbs. of mushrooms and I thought it was 5 lbs! So you can only imagine how much chopping I was doing. I had never seen a recipe say .5 instead of 1/2 lb! Joel happened to be in the kitchen and he kept saying that is an awful lot of mushrooms, and until I looked at it carefully I hadn’t seen that it said .5 . Who writes .5 ? Well, we had enough mushroom barley soup for the whole winter and then some–it expanded to a huge amount, and I had to keep adding liquid, it was hysterical. Once I realized what I had done, I had a good laugh, but the soup was still pretty tasty. I will write it it the way it should be and I doubt you’ll be making that same mistake any time soon. This is a very tasty , deeply robust soup, very healthy rendition of Mushroom Barley Soup. (and I always wear my reading glasses when I read a recipe now because you never know when you really need to see the difference between .5 and 5! )


1/3 cup dried mushrooms, like porcini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

12 medium carrots, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 lb. of white mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 lb. of shitake, cremini, portabello or other mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 lb. of whole barley( I had to use pearl barley because that’s what I had in house, it’s fine) I just used 1/2 a bag. Don’t worry over exact measurements here, just eyeball it. If you have a scale, you can measre it exactly, I just halved the bag.

6 cups of beef broth (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)  and you will need the other 2 cups in the box if you are using boxed broth. You will need 8 cups total, just start out with 6.

3 tablespoons sherry

* 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar – I like this and add it before I serve it. It’s no biggie if you don’t want to use or don’t have it.


Cover dried mushrooms with 1 cup of  hot water and set aside for 20 minutes. Reserve the liquid and finely chop mushrooms.

Heat oil in heavy bottom pot (Le Creuset).

Saute onions and carrots over medium heat until onions begin to turn golden and transparent. Add garlic and saute for a minute. I always throw a bit of kosher salt and pepper in while veggies saute. Just a bit, you’ll taste for Salt and Pepper later.

Add fresh mushrooms(dried ones as well)  and saute for about 5 minutes until mushrooms release their water. Raise the heat and add the barley. Saute until barley begins to color. Add broth and sherry. Add mushroom soaking liquid to pot. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Soup will start to naturally thicken as barley plumps up, if you need to add more liquid either water or broth will be just fine.  Simmer for about an hour, you will probably need more liquid, I always add the other 2 cups of broth, and I add water then if it is still too thick, play it by ear. I also add additional Salt and Pepper at this point, you will have to adjust to your own personal taste.  Add vinegar right before serving, if you are using it.  Serve with nice crusty bread! Enjoy!

This makes for a delightful lunch meal with a salad and bread. I also make this in the morning , put whole pot in fridge ( once it cools down) and right before dinner heat it up. This gives flavors time to meld together, and then if you need to add more liquid  you will add water since you’ve already added the additional 2 cups of broth. Freezes up beautifully, and exactly what I will do, because whole family will be coming to visit at the end of week, Yeah!!!! 🙂 🙂

White Bean and Tomatoes with Veggies Soup- can be vegetarian

photo (2)photo (2)photo (2)photo (2)photo (5)I decided to take a little bit different spin on my usual vegetable soup.  I did use chicken stock but you can certainly keep this completely vegetarian with vegetable stock. Play around with it and use whatever ingredients you like and whatever vegetables and stock suit your tastes best. This was delicious and heartwarming,  we ate some and froze the rest for another time. This should stay frozen for about 3 months in freezer. When you defrost you’ll thin out with a little stock while heating it up. Enjoy!


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic , chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 can yellow corn, drained ( 15 oz. can)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 15 oz. cans of white beans, drained and rinsed I used Cannellini but butter beans would be nice too, any white bean would work here

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

5 – 6 small red potatoes , cut into small pieces (had them in the house and they added a really nice flavor)

*fresh kale , rib removed and torn into small pieces.  This is totally optional, I had some kale on hand and decided to use it. Spinach would also be delicious.


In a large stock pot ( Le Creuset) over medium heat , saute onion and garlic until tender and onion is translucent , approximately 5 minutes or so. Stir in carrots and corn, season with salt and pepper. I just throw in some kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. You will taste for salt and pepper towards the end , so don’t worry about seasonings. Cook carrots and corn for a few more minutes, give it a few stirs. Pour in chicken broth, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and thyme. Bring soup to a low boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for app. one hour.

Separate soup into 2 equal portions, I just took out 1/2 of the soup into another bowl. Allow soup to cool to room temperature, once cooled down sufficiently puree  the half that you took out in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return that pureed batch to the remaining soup in stockpot and heat until warmed through. Adjust your seasonings with salt and pepper as needed. If soup appears to be very thick you can thin it out with a little water or broth, add a little at a time. I also added some fresh kale at this time, I removed the rib and tore the leaves into small pieces.  This is totally optional, but since I had the kale I figured I would. Serve hot with a nice crusty bread . I love the pretzel rolls from Whole Foods, check them out.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

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Parmesan Crisps with Tomato Soup


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Soup at the beginning of the cooking process


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Parmesan Crisps

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Tube of Tomato Paste–I love the tubes

FullSizeRender (27) FullSizeRender (26)FullSizeRender (23) FullSizeRender (24)One of our most favorite soups is Tomato Soup. I love the creaminess in this soup and the texture and tang of the tomatoes. I added parmesan crisps to the top which only add another layer of “deliciousness” to the soup. I did add 1/2 cup of heavy cream mostly because I had it in the house but also because over the whole recipe it’s just a little bit of richness that goes a very long way. I suppose you can omit it but I wouldn’t. We loved it just the way it was and I have 2 large containers that went into the freezer for another night’s meal. The parmesan crisps are super easy and all you’ll need is some grated parmesan. Croutons would work well as well.

*you’ll need an immersion blender and a Dutch Oven type of pot with a tight fitting lid.



1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

1 whole onion, finely diced

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 minced garlic clove

3 whole Large Carrots, Peeled and finely diced

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste–the tubes make life so nice and easy

3 Cans Whole Tomatoes — 28 oz. each–Italian whole plum tomatoes with their juices

32 ounces , Vegetable or Chicken Broth

1 cup water

1/2 cups Heavy Cream

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil ( approximate amount) you can eyeball and you can use more for garnish if you’d like

Grated Parmesan if you want to make the Parmesan Crisps (recipe to follow soup recipe)


In a large Dutch Oven kind of pot ( Le Creuset) , heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, then add onion, garlic and carrots. Stir and cook till vegetables soften but be careful not to burn the garlic and onions. This will take app. 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and incorporate it into the vegetables with a wooden spoon. Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Add canned tomatoes with their juice, broth and water. Stir together and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for at least 30 minutes. I had time so I allowed it to simmer for about an hour. The longer the better.

I then turned heat off and allowed to cool for a few minutes before using immersion blender. Be careful because hot soup can burn. I gave it a quick few minutes with the immersion blender , the tomatoes completely broke down because they had cooked so long. You can leave some texture in the tomatoes if you like chunkier pieces.

Add the cream, salt and pepper to taste, I used about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and about 12 grinds on the pepper mill. You should taste for salt to your own particular taste. Add the basil and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. I then topped with parmesan crisps and they just kind of melted in to the soup which was just divine.

Parmesan Crisps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 heaping Tablespoon of Grated Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Pat each teaspoon down a little, leave about 1/2″ apart. Cook for  3- 5 minutes till edges turn brown and crisps are golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes and lift off cookie sheet.

Winter Cabbage Soup with Veggies


Skiing on Aspen Mountain


Simmering Soup

Because this has a lot of cabbage I am calling it Cabbage Soup but it’s really a tomato based Vegetable Soup with a lot of cabbage — 1/2 head of cabbage. I love it and it’s very tasty and delicious. Heart warming on these cold winter nights. A perfect lunch meal or dinner alongside a salad with some toasty crunchy bread for dipping. This is what I did.

P.S. Vegan and Gluten Free for those who care


1 large yellow onion , chopped

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt– you may want to add more it’s up to your taste– I added more

4 medium carrots, cut into small pieces

4 ribs of celery, cut into small pieces

5 cups of Vegetable Stock and if you don’t care about the Vegan thing add Chicken Broth –you can also just use plain old fashioned Water if you don’t have Broth in the house . The broth adds a little more flavor for sure.

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 of a smallish head of cabbage– if it’s a large head use a little less

2 Tsp. of chopped fresh Rosemary

2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Grated Parmesan for Serving


Chop the onion. In a very large pot, ( think Le Creuset large Dutch Oven) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. of the salt and cook the onions down till they’re translucent ( lower heat if necessary because we don’t want any burning here) Cook until soft and translucent about 5 minutes.

While the onion is cooking down, cut the carrots and celery into small pieces. Add to the pot and cook along with onions till softened about 6- 10 minutes on a low flame.

Add the finely chopped garlic to the pot and cook for a minute or so

Add the tomatoes and 5 cups of broth ( you’ll probably have to add more broth or water as the soup cooks ) Break the tomatoes up with your wooden spoon and let this come to a low boil.

Shred the cabbage and chop the rosemary. Add the cabbage and rosemary, drained beans, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and the remaining 1 tsp. of kosher salt to the pot. Partially cover with a lid allowing some steam to escape, reduce the heat to a simmer until the vegetables are tender. I definitely cooked for an hour or so, I like to cook my soups for a long while. You’ll have to check on it for more salt and more liquid.  I definitely added more salt and more broth as I went along.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan Cheese if you’d like .




Winter Veggie Soup with Barley and Turkey Sausage (optional)

photo 1 (29)photo 3 (17)photo 5 (14)It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter here in the Northeast. What better way to warm up then with a bowl of soup? Helps warm the body and soul. I  went totally crazy with the vegetables and I cut up everything that was in my fridge and what I bought in the supermarket. I realize that this is a lot of vegetables and a lot of cleaning and chopping but so worthwhile. I added spicy turkey sausage but if you would like you can keep this totally vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese rinds. The magic ingredient in this soup is the “cheese rind” it adds another dimension to this soup for sure. I just cut off the end (rind) of the parmesan cheese hunk of cheese! Amazing flavor!!!!

I used vegetable broth because I had it, you can use chicken broth as well.

This is what I did.

Don’t be put off by the shopping list and the chopping. You, your family and friends will be forever grateful.


2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet or spicy turkey sausages ( large ones)

1 cup pearled barley

8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into app. 1/2″ thick rounds, cut however you like, I just like to taste a piece of carrot in my soup

2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds as well

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices , leave the skin on

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced ( don’t omit this , it adds amazing flavor)

1 medium leek, thinly sliced and washed well

One bunch of Swiss Chard, remove the center stem and chop leaves

1 Parmesan Cheese rind, optional

1 dried bay leaf

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped chives , I didn’t have fresh which I recommend but I used dried, it’s really OK if you omit , just adds one more layer of flavor to the soup.


In a large stockpot ( Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon into small pieces, I like to brown the sausage, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the barley and stir constantly until it is lightly browned, app. 3 – 4 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, fennel, leeks, chard , bay leaf and cheese rind. About 1 teaspoon kosher salt and about 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. You will taste for salt and pepper again at the end. Bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the barley is tender . I cooked for about an hour.

Remove the rind and bay leaf and discard after the first hour. Season the soup with remaining S & P if desired. You may also want to add a little liquid if it’s too thick, you can add more broth or just some water will work as well.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cooked sausage and chopped chives.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

this is one of my absolute favorite recipes–one of my top ten.  It is a soup , which is also a full meal. It is hearty and pretty healthy.  It is one of my staples from September through April. It freezes well and you can just take it out of the freezer the night before, and you’ll have a wonderful meal the next evening. When you defrost it you will probably want to add broth/water to it. add a little at a time till you get the consisitency you like. Enjoy:)

Ingredients: chicken balls

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed

3 slices whole wheat bread for bread crumbs ( I put into food proccesor with steel blade for crumbs) i remove crusts . should be app. 1 cup of bread crumbs

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 – 3 cloves)

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( fresh is best) but whatever you have will do

1/4 cup grated Parmesan ( again nothing beats fresh) but whatever you have will do here as well

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small -medium yellow onion minced

1 cup diced carrots ( 3 )

1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

10 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine( use whatever you have open)

1 cup small pasta tubetini, ditalini, stars, etc.

5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

*fresh dill ( I love the flavor) add at your own discretion about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill.


preheat the oven to 350 degrees  put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

for the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage,bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper  all in a bowl and mix well with a fork.  I use a teaspoon, and make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. you should have about 30 to 40 small balls. bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. set them aside. (I made about 30 balls, they were a little larger this time out)

For the Soup:

 heat the olive oil over medium – low heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot ( Le Creuset type pot) Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes, don’t brown. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, at this point I let soup cook a while to soften the vegetables, app. 1 hour. ( a low simmer) if you’re in a hurry you can probably do the whole soup in 1/2 hour , veggies will be soft enough to eat. if some of the liquid evaporates you can always add a little more broth.

chicken balls out of the ovenItalian Wedding Soup cooking

 Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook another 6 – 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or so. taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or so, the spinach will just wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Corn and Tomato Soup – no cream

DSCN0358DSCN0382DSCN0381The corn is so delicious right now that I had to make this soup. I was going to save this recipe for the Fall but I used the fresh Olathe corn at the market now and couldn’t wait to share. When the corn is not as fresh and sweet you can definitely use frozen . I used fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and fresh Olathe corn ( local in Colorado) but I happen to know Long Island has particularly good sweet local corn. So while the getting is good and you can get fresh vegetables please do so. Farm to Table here we go again.

I made this soup for dinner as an appetizer. I think it would be good cold but I prefer it warm.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots , coarsely chopped or 1 large one

1 teaspoon kosher salt ( more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( more to taste)

3 1/4 cups corn, or 1 lb. bag of frozen corn thawed it’s approximately 5 – 6 ears of fresh corn

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian

2 beautiful medium size tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces*

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn


In a large dutch oven ( Le Creuset) type of pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, salt and pepper, cook stirring occasionally until shallots are soft, app. 5 minutes. While this is going on cook up the corn as follows.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and just cook corn till it turns yellow for 1-2 minutes, then I throw into an ice bath to stop the cooking. When corn is cooled down cut kernels off cobs.

Place the cooked shallots, corn and chicken stock into the blender.

Pour the corn mixture back into the pot. Bring the mixture to a low simmer , cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just to heat through.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil, let it cook for another 10 minutes or so.  Taste for Salt and Pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve!

*to seed the tomatoes, cut them in 1/2 horizontally and using a small dessert spoon, scoop out the seed and discard. The seeds make the soup too watery.

Homemade Chicken Soup – anytime and with not so homemade matzo balls

IMG_4514This is my homemade chicken soup recipe which is already posted on my blog as Homemade Chicken Soup which is great to have anytime and is what I add my not so homemade matzo balls to during Passover. I couldn’t re-blog it again so I decided to just re-write it. I would recommend making this at least a day ahead of using, and you can certainly make ahead and freeze till you’ll want to use it.

If you put Passover into Search Box this and other Holiday recipes should come up.


For Chicken Stock:

1 5 lb. organic roasting chicken ( I don’t use the insides)

1 package of chicken wings ( this was suggested to me a long time ago by my BFF Karyn and she was oh so right. It will add some fat, which translates into a whole lotta flavor , and you will skim off the fat anyway.  Thanks again Karyn.

1 large, yellow Spanish onion, unpeeled and quartered

a big bunch of fresh dill

4 celery stalks with leaves and cut into thirds

4 carrots, unpeeled and halved

a bunch of flat-leaf parsley

a bunch of fresh thyme

1 head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise ( skin and all)

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

Directions for Soup:

I place the chicken , chicken wings, onion, carrots, celery, all the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in as large a stockpot as I can find, I actually have a 16-20 qt. stockpot that I use. Add cold water to cover chicken by at least 2″ above the chicken but not to the top of the pot because it will boil over (very messy) . Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered for about 3 hours. I skim the soup for the first 1/2 hour or so after that you shouldn’t have much more. I remove the chicken from the broth after an hour or so, because it is cooked and it will taste like a rubber chicken if you plan on eating it. Sometimes I like to shred it and return it to the soup. If you are not using the chicken ( a waste of a good chicken ) you can just leave it in the water for as long as you’d like, it will fall apart in there. I leave the wings in and discard them after about 3 hours. After letting soup simmer on stove top for about 3 hours all together, I let it cool down significantly first, strain all of the soup in a large colander, discard all remnants, fill my containers and put in the fridge. The next day, I skim off any noticeable fat that has risen to the top and make my matzo balls. (see recipe below)

*you can also make chicken salad from this chicken , go to my curry chicken salad recipe on cookingwithcandi.comPicture 001Picture 005

Matzo Balls:

This has always been my little secret to great matzo balls. I own it, after years of making matzo balls from scratch, my Mother ( yes, my Mother the cook) turned me on to Manischewitz boxed matzo ball mix! It just wasn’t worth the time spent, the balls weren’t as consistent as I would have liked, whereas these are always perfection every time! Light and fluffy and everyone always loves them, and asks for recipe . No sinkers here!

I follow the directions on the box carefully. They sell just the mix in a box. You will need vegetable oil and 2 eggs per box. I do add a little piece of dill inside each ball, but that’s it! Now my secret is out, sometimes this is really the only way to roll. It saves time and ingredients, and they are really good. No MSG or trans-fats either, so make the homemade soup, cheat with the balls and enjoy. There is no substitute for homemade chicken soup , though.

*when not observing Passover, this soup is delicious with noodles

Green Pea Soup from Bergdorf Goodman – Happy St. Patricks Day

IMG_7457IMG_7459IMG_7455 IMG_7466 IMG_7469Let’s celebrate St. Patricks Day with this delicious green soup! The first time I had this soup was downstairs in BG and I thought to myself I must re-create this delicious light soup. Low and behold along came *The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook which included this delicious recipe.   My two favorite items to order on the BG menu are the Gotham Salad and  the Green Pea Soup and they are both right there in this wonderful little cookbook. There are many other delightful recipes in the book as well which make it a worthwhile purchase. The shocking part of this delicious soup was the addition of a sweet potato and soy sauce. I didn’t see that coming, I would have made it without either of those two items. The soy sauce adds an intense layer of flavor and the potato gives it some real texture. Blend well. I used my high-speed blender for this .

*The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook by Laura Silverman–available through Amazon or Bergdorf Goodman


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1 whole sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, if you have white pepper use it but I didn’t so I used black

3 3/4 cups chicken stock

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb. fresh or frozen , thawed green peas. I used one whole bag of frozen green peas.

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat and sauté the onion, celery, carrots, sweet potato, garlic, salt and pepper until the vegetables are tender but not brown. I let it cook down for about 1/2 hour.

Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in the peas and just blanch them for a minute.

Turn off the heat. Cool slightly, then add the parsley ( don’t omit the fresh parsley, please) Taste for Salt but I found it was just right with the 1 teaspoon.

In a blender or food processor, do it in batches ( I did it in 3) , puree all the ingredients until smooth. Serve warm!

Love the taste and enjoy all the healthy benefits!!!

*can be made vegan with vegetable stock

Veggie Soup with Rotisserie Chicken – Perfect Winter Soup

Winter '13 colorado 002Winter '13 colorado 003Winter '13 colorado 006This is a soup, and a little like a stew, and I think Rachael Ray calls it a stoup, because it’s a little bit stew and a little bit soup. I combined a lot of different recipes for this one, and used a lot of ingredients from the pantry as well. I served alongside a toasted baguette with goat cheese. A perfect ending to a chilly day and just in time for soup season!  And did I say filling? it is a meal in itself. There are a lot of ingredients, but it really did make this soup wonderful. I enjoyed the prep, it’s very therapeutic and it’s not difficult at all.   I find it is very very important to read through a whole recipe before starting to cook, because you don’t want any surprises 1/2 way through and I always set out all of my ingredients before I start cooking, don’t want to be running around looking for an ingredient. You can also substitute wherever you’d like in this recipe using ingredients you would prefer. Enjoy!


1 whole Rotisserie Chicken ( skin and bones removed and shred meat) (store bought is perfect here) unless you are in the mood to roast a chicken.

Olive Oil

1 4 oz. package of diced pancetta– I thought it added a delightful layer of deliciousness but not if you are opposed to using it

1 medium yellow onion ( diced)

3 carrots , peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery , diced

2 1/2 cups of diced peeled butternut squash

4 cloves garlic  minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 15oz. can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed

1/2 cup dry white wine

baby spinach leaves ( I only used a little bit, but feel free to use whole 8 ounces) Kale would also work beautifully here

1 cup small pasta , like ditalini. I used small elbows because that is what I had on hand.

2 Tablespoons Pesto , I happen to have some frozen, but buy the store bought one if you don’t happen to have this on hand.

1 baguette or crusty type bread

6 cups of chicken broth, hold on to the extra 2 cups because you may need them

2 bay leaves

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*freshly grated Parmesan Cheese ( optional) for serving


Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large heavy pot ( Le Creuset) or any Dutch type Oven. Add the pancetta and cook for about 6 – 8 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally , until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic and thyme, and cook over medium heat. I cooked for about 12 minutes till everything started to break down and soften.

Add the can of tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, bay leaves, I added 2 teaspoons of Kosher Salt and about 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. You can taste later and add if you need more. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour.

I cooked pasta separately till al dente.

Discard bay leaves, add pasta , beans and shredded chicken to soup. Heat through. Soup should be quite thick and if it’s too thick add some more chicken stock or some water.  Just before serving if you’re using it add in the spinach a little at a time, I used very little because Joel really doesn’t care for it, use as much as you’d like, keep stirring. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Check for salt and pepper.

Serve in nice large shallow bowls, with bread on the side. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you’d like.

I sliced a baguette on the diagonal and brushed olive oil on both sides, Baked in the oven at 425 degrees, turning bread once , total cooking time about 8 minutes, took bread out and spread some goat cheese on each slice and put back in the oven for about 4 minutes. Delicious!