This is health in a bowl, my favorite chicken soup.
Chicken Soup with Pumpkin and Marsala Wine
by: Erica De Mane – Pasta Improvvisata
1 slice fatty, end-cut prosciutto, well chopped, or I prefer diced pancetta, or bacon
1 large onion, cut into small dice
2 carrots, cut into small dice
1 chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
A few gratings of nutmeg
A few small sprigs of rosemary, leaves chopped
1/2 cup dry Marsala
2 quarts chicken broth (home made or store bought low sodium organic broth)
A large piece of pumpkin, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 2 cups) – or any winter squash
1/2 cup small soup pasta, cooked al dente, drained, and tossed in a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt
1 medium head escarole, washed, dried, and well chopped (substitute spinach or blanched kale or chard)
1 cup grated Grana Padana ( I use Parmesan cheese)
Choose a large casserole or heavy-bottomed soup pot fitted with a lid. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium flame. When hot, add the prosciutto/pancetta/bacon, onion, and carrots, and sauté a few minutes to soften. Add the chicken, seasoning it with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and rosemary, and brown lightly all over, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté a minute or so, just to release its flavor. Add the Marsala and let it reduce by half. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil (the broth should just about cover the chicken; if more than an inch sticks out, add water). Turn the heat to low, cover the casserole, and simmer, turning the chicken occasionally, until it is very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the broth. Skim all the fat from the surface of the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat off it and cut into little chunks. Discard the skin and bones. Return the broth to a boil. Add the pumpkin and cook uncovered until tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken, the pasta, and the escarole/spinach/kale. Simmer on low heat about 2 or 3 minutes, just to blend the flavors and wilt the greens. Taste for seasoning, adding a bit more salt, black pepper, fresh rosemary, or a pinch of nutmeg to balance the flavors. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of Grana Padano/Parmesan.