I also added a big bunch of kale, because we had it (thanks, Tanaka!). Miss Mari has a thing for wilted leafy greens, and while thankful, I have no idea where that came from.
Make-ahead note: this soup is made especially easy if you roast your chicken a day or two in advance (or even buy an all-natural pre-cooked chicken from your local market). And how about getting the celery and carrots diced ahead of time, too, while you're at it? It helps when your mom loves being a sous chef!
Click below for the full recipe.
Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup with Kale
Very slightly adapted from The Barefoot Contessa's Chicken Noodle Soup from The Barefoot Contessa: Family Style, page 31
2 large skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts good, low-sodium organic chicken stock
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)
1 8-ounce bag of Trader Joe's egg pappardelle pasta, broken in thirds-ish (or comparable wide egg pasta)
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped into 1-inch-ish pieces
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a glass baking dish, rub both sides of chicken with small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken (or dice, if that's your thing).
Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add the celery, carrots and noodles. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, until the noodles are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and kale until wilted, stirring occasionally. Last: add the parsley and let it heat through in the soup. Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed and serve.
If you make a habit of roasting whole chickens, you can make your own chicken stock. Here's The BC's recipe, which she recommends using for this, and all of her delicious soups. From the store, I like Trader Joe's organic chicken stock.
Lastly, a note on warming bread: our favorite trick, learned from my mom, of course, is to take a fresh loaf and rub it lightly with some olive oil and a very healthy sprinkle of kosher salt. Massage it all into the crust and keeping a close eye, bake at 375 degrees (baking times vary by bread / thickness) until the crust is crispy and golden.