Let’s talk about this bowl of cozy, shall we?
Since much of the country is experiencing a polar vortex/winter storm, this seems like the perfect time to tell you about this fun twist on classic chicken noodle soup!
Who else grew up eating Campbell’s condensed chicken noodle soup? It was a childhood staple for me growing up, always topped with saltines and possibly a grilled cheese every now and then.
It was suuuuch a nostalgic comfort food for me, years after I moved out of my parents’ house. It was what we always had when we weren’t feeling great, or when a quick and easy lunch was needed.
As an adult, as much as I still enjoy the occasional can of soup for that bite of nostalgia, I loooove making chicken noodle soup from scratch.
First, it’s easier than you think. Like any good soup, it just takes a little time on the stove to allow everything to cook properly and for all the flavors to meld. But the actual difficulty of the recipe is low. It’s more like hands-off cooking, for the most part.
Second, while I definitely 100% endorse making chicken noodle soup with homemade-from-scratch chicken stock, I also recognize that most of us do not have time to do that whenever we want a bowl of soup.
My hand is raised high in the air, friends! I do not have time for homemade stock. Hardly ever. I think I do it maybe twice a year? Stock in a box all the way!
And this recipe uses just that. The key to using boxed stock is to pick a decent one! Preferably a bone broth! Because that’s what homemade stock is. We want it to taste rich and delicious, and I think store-bought bone broth is a really good alternative to making your own.
For this recipe, we’re jazzing things up a bit by adding in the flavors of cacio e pepe! The soup tastes both like chicken noodle soup and a bowl of cacio e pepe pasta. It’s glorious. So freaking cozy.
Since we’re all freezing right now in the gray of mid February, this is the perfect thing to make for dinner.
The soup starts with searing chicken breasts (or thighs) in a pot and then cooking a bunch of veggies and flavorings in the chicken juices. We make an aromatic and super-flavorful broth by adding in a parmesan cheese rind (to impart the cheesy flavor of cacio e pepe), bay leaves, dried and fresh thyme (I find that the combo yields the best flavor in the end), and a little bit of turmeric.
The turmeric is my addition to most chicken-broth based soups. First, it adds a lovely yellow color, but mostly, it adds a peppery and vibrant flavor you can’t get from anything else. I also love the health benefits of turmeric, and when I can add it to something, I do. Chicken soup is good for the soul AND body, and I think the turmeric really drives that home.
After the broth has had some time to simmer away and develop all of it’s amazing flavor, we add in egg noodles. I used a short, flat noodle called kluski, but any egg noodle shape will do! Add them in and let them cook until tender.
And then it’s time to serve! I like to serve this with a fresh squeeze of lemon, some chopped parley, a fresh crack of black pepper, and the most important final touch: some grated pecorino romano cheese over top! It’s what brings the “cacio” to cacio e pepe!
The result is fabulously slurpy, soul-warming bowl of cozy comfort food. It tastes like childhood, but with the flavors cranked up.
Oh, and don’t forget the saltines! They’re a must in my book.Print
Cacio e Pepe Chicken Noodle Soup
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
This Cacio e Pepe Chicken Noodle Soup is a delicious twist on the classic! Broth is simmered with a parmesan cheese rind and then served with cracked black pepper and a grating of pecorino romano cheese. It’s reminiscent of childhood comfort food but with the flavors cranked up!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (see NOTE)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1½ cups diced yellow onion (about 1 large or 2 medium)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 4 stalks)
- 1 cup sliced carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (or 1 teaspoon freshly grated)
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken bone broth (see NOTE)
- 1 cup water
- 1 (3-inch) piece of parmesan cheese rind (see NOTE)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 oz uncooked egg noodles
- Juice of half a lemon
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Cracked black pepper, for serving
- Grated pecorino romano cheese, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and then add in the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the onion, celery, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add in the garlic, dried thyme, and turmeric and cook for another minute.
- Add in the broth, water, parmesan cheese rind, bay leaves, and fresh thyme sprigs. Bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, shred or dice the cooked chicken. Add it to the simmering broth. Allow the broth to simmer for 20-30 minutes, tasting and seasoning as you go.
- Reduce the heat so that the broth is barely simmering. Add in the noodles and let cook for 10-12 minutes (or as directed on the package) until they are puffed and tender.
- Stir in the lemon juice and chopped parsley and season, to taste, with more salt and pepper as needed. Discard the parmesan cheese rind, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs before serving.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a generous sprinkling of coarsely cracked black pepper and grated pecorino romano cheese. Serve hot.
- To save time, you could also use the shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken. I do this all the time for soups. Make the broth as directed and stir in the shredded chicken with the noodles.
- For the parmesan cheese rind, I simply save the rinds of my parmesan hunks and freeze them. They add amazing flavor to soups and sauces! A lot of stores now sell parmesan cheese rinds in the gourmet foods/cheese section. You can also use an unwaxed pecorino romano cheese rind – but I have had a hard time finding one without wax on the outside. I use parmesan just to be safe. The parmesan will still impart that amazing salty, cheesy flavor to the broth.
- I highly recommend using a good quality bone broth for the best flavor since we are not making chicken broth from scratch for this recipe.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: soup
Keywords: cacio e pepe chicken noodle soup, homemade chicken noodle soup, cacio e pepe soup
great thinking! Wish I had thought of this, adding parmesan rind is genius, thank you!