One-pot chicken orzo soup perfect for a cold winter night

Warm up with chicken orzo soup, an easy one-pot meal. (Tribune News Service)

Here’s a warm, comforting and easy take on an old favorite, chicken noodle soup. This is a one-pot meal that’s perfect for a winter’s evening.

Using cooked chicken, either rotisserie or from the deli, cuts down on the cooking time. You could also use turkey.

Parsnips add a hint of sweetness, and fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese add a flavorful touch. 

Orzo is rice-shaped pasta, but you can use any small pasta such as small macaroni, pastina or acini di pepe.

Chopped fresh onion can be used instead of frozen. Sauté it a few minutes longer.

CHICKEN ORZO SOUP

Servings: 2

2 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups frozen chopped onion

½ cup sliced celery

1 cup peeled parsnips, thinly sliced

4 cups unsalted chicken broth

¾ cup orzo

10 ounces cooked boneless chicken breast (skin removed)

2 cups fresh washed, ready-to-eat baby spinach

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and parsnips. Sauté 3 minutes. Add the broth and orzo, and simmer 8 minutes or until orzo is cooked al dente.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into small pieces. When the orzo is cooked, add the chicken and spinach. Stir until spinach is wilted and chicken is warmed, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat, and add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls, and sprinkle cheese on top.

Nutrition information per serving: 634 calories (19% from fat); 13.1 g fat (3.4 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated); 135 mg cholesterol; 61.7 g protein; 67.9 g carbohydrates; 8.4 g fiber; 470 mg sodium.

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