Chicken Meatball and Tortellini Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground chicken breast
  • 20 leaves basil, chopped
  • 1 large handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass at the table
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 packages small fresh cheese or mushroom-filled fresh tortellini (9 ounces), available on the dairy aisle at the grocery store
  • Crusty bread


Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, bay leaf and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every now and then, for 3-4 minutes.

While the veggies are getting tender, make the chicken meatball mixture: in a bowl, combine the ground chicken, basil, parsley, egg white, lemon zest, grated Parmigiano Reggiano and some salt and pepper. Reserve the mixture in the refrigerator.

Add the chicken stock to the veggies, cover with a lid and turn the heat up to high to bring to a quick bubble. Once boiling, remove the chicken mixture from the refrigerator. Using a serving spoon, scoop out a walnut-size spoonful of the chicken mixture, using a second serving spoon push the chicken mixture off the first spoon into the simmering stock. Repeat with the rest of the chicken mixture, working as quickly as you can to get all the balls into the stock.

Shake the pan in order to settle the meatballs into the liquid; bring it back up to a bubble and add the tortellini and cook according to the package directions. Serve with a little more grated Parmigiano Reggiano to pass at the table and some crusty bread.

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