For a warming, filling and flavour-filled Italian soup, this recipe is Italy’s version of Chicken Noodle Soup. If you haven’t experienced the delights of Fregola, you’re going to LOVE this soup. Learn more.

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This Chicken Soup with Fregola was something I ate when I visited Italy. I stayed in the Abruzzo region - known for, amongst other culinary delights, spectacular pasta products. I'd never eaten a soup quite like it, and I'd never before experienced it's most alluring ingredient - Fregola. After a long day trekking around the Majella National Park, a big bowl of soup was a very welcome sight at our tiny Agroturismo restaurant. It stayed with me for years, and has become a winter staple at home. My simple recipe is tried and tested and creates the most delicious 'chickeny' soup!

What is Fregola?

Fregola are tiny balls of durum wheat pasta that have been hand-rolled and then baked. They're cooked, in water, like pasta and used with sauces and in soups and salads. They resemble Israeli/pearl cous-cous in size and shape, but a little coarser. They're a great way to add texture and bulk to dishes. Of all the fregola recipes out there this chicken soup is my favourite.

Chicken Soup with Fregola

Chicken Noodle Soup, Italian style.

The fregola acts as another taste and textural component to the soup. The soup itself is beautifully flavoured and has a wonderful, rich chicken taste. It's one of those soups that keeps giving which will leave you intensely satisfied and warm. It doesn't even need bread, due to the plump soup-soaked fregola. It's the perfect winter soup, but a winner all year round for sure.

More delicious soup recipes

If you're a soup kind of person (I am!) why not give some of my other soups from around the world a spin! You can discover my most favourites by taking a look at my Best Soup Recipes.

What is Fregola?

Fregola is a Durum wheat pasta that has been rolled by hand or machine and then baked and dried. Fregola originated in Sardinia, which gave it it's full name Fregola Sarda.

What can I use Fregola for?

Add it to soups and stews, cook with stock like a risotto, add to salads or just toss with a sauce or olive oil like regular pasta.

I can't get hold of Fregola for this recipe what should I use instead?

For this recipe, you can substitute with any soup pasta like Orzo, Ditalni, Fideo, Acini De Pepe or you could also use Israeli (pearl) Cous Cous.

Which brand did you use?

I found a brand of Fregola made in Abruzzo, where I first tasted the soup - it's delicious.

How to make my Chicken Soup with Fregola

Chicken Soup with Fregola

Chicken Soup with Fregola

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Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 511

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and diced)
  • 1 stick celery (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (capsicum), diced
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup fregola sarda
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan until hot over a moderate heat until hot. Add the chicken thighs and fry them until all the sides have browned, around 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  • Add the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic for about 5 minutes until soft.
  • Return the chicken to the pan along with about 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley (stalks and leaves) and the oregano. Season with about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper. And pour over about 1.5 litres of water. Bring the soup to boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for 1 hour, until the chicken is tender.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and leave to cool. Add the fregola to the soup and cook according to the packet instructions, minus 1 minute.
  • Using your fingers or two forks, shred the chicken from the bone and add to the soup. Discard the bones. Pour in the cream and simmer for 2 minutes, before removing from the heat. Check for seasoning and that's it! I like to pop on the lid and leave for 30 minutes for the fregola to swell up and absorb more liquid before eating, but it's good to go if you haven't got the time or stamina to wait. When you're good to go, sprinkle with a little more chopped parsley and if you have some, a sprinkling of Parmigiana Reggiano cheese is just the ticket!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Soup with Fregola
Amount Per Serving
Calories 511 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 96mg32%
Sodium 69mg3%
Potassium 382mg11%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 1500IU30%
Vitamin C 41mg50%
Calcium 66mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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