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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grandma Mary's Chicken Soup (aka Tuscan Chicken Soup at D'Amico & Sons)

In honor of my Grandma Mary who passed away yesterday I would like to share this recipe.  I have been eating this soup as long as I can remember.  My Grandmother's version did not have heavy cream in it or zucchini and yellow squash, but when I started making it at D'Amico & Sons in 1997 I added these elements (you can go either way).  My Grandma would sometimes use cooked white rice in place of the acini de pepe pasta.  If you don't feel like cooking chicken, you  can also pull the meat off of a rotisserie chicken and use it in the soup.  It may seem lengthy in ingredients, but it is quick and fantastic.  All my ingredients are organic.  At one point at D'Amico & Sons I was making 80 gallons every day and I couldn't keep up with it!  It has been on the D'Amico menu since 1997, if you live in Minnesota and eat at D'Amico & Sons, you know this soup!  Thank you Grandma.

Grandma Mary's Chicken Soup (Tuscan Chicken Soup)
1-1 1/4  pounds chicken breasts (washed in cold water)
1 medium Yellow Onion (medium dice)
4 ea Carrots (peeled, washed, and medium dice)
4 Stalks Celery (washed and medium diced)
1 ea Zucchini (washed and medium diced)
1 ea Yellow Squash (washed and medium diced)
3 cloves Fresh Garlic (chopped finely)
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (optional)
2 TBSP + 1 tsp (to coat raw chicken with before cooking) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
28 0z can Crushed Tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic or i like Pomi strained tomatoes in aseptic box-26 oz container, cans have BPA in the lining)
5 Cups Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt-to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper -to taste
2 Cups Cooked Acini de pepe pasta (cooked according to package directions) Available at Kroger, Cub Foods, Wegman's

Preheat oven to 375.  Wash and drain chicken breasts, toss in 1 tsp olive oil.   Season with 1/4 tsp kosher salt and  3 grinds of fresh black pepper.  Lay flat on baking sheet (if using parchment paper, no need to spray pan-if no parchment spray pan) and cook for 15-20 minutes, until internal temperature of thickest piece is 170 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. 

In a large pot while chicken is cooking add 2 TBSP olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes.  Add zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic.  Saute until tender about 4-6 minutes.

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, basil, oregano.  Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into bite size pieces, add to soup.  Simmer soup for 20-30 minutes, vegetables should be tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add heavy cream if using and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes. 

Note on seasoning; depending on what type of chicken stock you use and the amount of salt it contains, you will need to adjust the flavor to your liking. 

Note on cutting vegetables; you don't have to perfectly cut vegetables, this isn't culinary school!  Just try to keep all the veggies about the same size dice.  It's just soup!

Serving: place soup in bowl with desired amount of acini de pepe or white rice.  Top with grated Parmiggiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese! 


  1. The longer you simmer the soup, the deeper the flavors. If you only have 30 minutes to let it simmer, that is ok. If you have 2 hours, let it simmer. Soup should be cooked slow & low, just like good BBQ. This allows the flavors to develop, that's why soup is even better the second day!

  2. Thanks for posting this. Just had it today for lunch and HAVE to make it at home this week for dinner. Looking forward to giving it a whirl!

  3. I'm so glad you posted this recipe. I used to work at a D'Amico's in high school and this was one of my favorite foods! I have yet to find an Italian soup I like as much as this one and considering there are no D'Amico's within hundreds of miles of where I live it's been a while since I've had any. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Thank you for posting this recipe! Grandmas always make food that gathers the family, don't they? I found your post a few days ago and made the soup today for a get together with friends. I didn't have any chicken on hand, so I used ham. It was delicious! My kids told me that this was good enough to add to our family favorite recipes box!

  5. I make this soup over and over again!! It is so simple but SO delicious. Thank you!

  6. I make this soup over and over again!! It is so simple but SO delicious. Thank you!