During last year’s first lockdown when there were grocery shortages aplenty, I was really surprised that there was always Orzo in stock. Here in Australia, it’s usually called Risoni, but it’s the same short cut pasta, the size and shape of a large grain of rice. The entire pasta aisle was wiped bare except for boxes and packets of risoni on the top shelf. It honestly made me a little sad to see that this little pasta shape seemed to be so unloved! I find it to be a really versatile ingredient to always have on hand in the pantry. This Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup is one a one pot wonder, and one of my absolute favourite things to make with it.
It blows my mind that Spicyicecream is turning 14 this year – and this recipe was originally shared all the way back in December 2007. I actually remember the day I made this very clearly. It was a humid summer day that ended with a spectacularly dramatic thunderstorm. I could smell the rain in the air as I looked out the window of our tiny old kitchen (pre-renovation!) and carefully chopped vegetables. The dish turned out even more delicious than we expected and I’ve been making it ever since!
Since I probably only had 3 blog readers back then and the photos were definitely terrible, I wanted to re-shoot and re-share it again. I actually love re-sharing my very early blog recipes (like this Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta) because you just know that if I still cook it and genuinely love it after 10 or more years, it’s a winner. By this point I have also most likely made every substitution and taken every shortcut under the sun! These are the recipes that my family request all the time. Or that I pull out of the repertoire when I need a recipe I know by heart and am 1000% confident will work.
If we’re being honest, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this soup. It’s more like the love child of minestrone and risotto. Picture a more ‘juicy’ risotto with orzo/risoni instead of aborio rice. You can literally eat it with a fork! But nonetheless, this Chicken Risoni Soup has become a family favourite and one of my most-loved comfort food dishes. Everyone I have ever made it for has absolutely loved it. This soup is chunky, hearty and filling but still feels fresh with lots of vegetables that bring colour and texture. It is somehow perfect any time of year.
My best tips for Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup…
- Prep all of your ingredients first. I’m usually a bit impatient and start cooking and chopping simultaneously but it really helps to be organised with this one and prep everything first. The chopping is the most hands-on time consuming part of this recipe and once that is out of the way, the rest comes together really easily.
- There are loads of substitution options! If you want to change it up from chicken and bacon, you could also try chorizo or another kind of spicy sausage. Prawns or scallops could also be a delicious addition. If you’re making this vegetarian, double down on the beans and vegetables! Leeks, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes would be awesome and even frozen veg in a pinch, which I always have on hand.
- This recipe serves 6, which is great for a family, however if you don’t want to eat leftovers for days, I would recommend halving the recipe or just making it until step 4, then cooling and freezing it. When you defrost it another day, just continue with the recipe as written, adding the risoni, beans and zucchini. This way, you have a quick dinner for next time as the most time consuming part of finely dicing your vegetables is already done!
- To make this more like a traditional ‘soup’ you can use half the amount of risoni, substitute with another small soup pasta, or leave it out entirely.
- This is a one pot wonder! I love this recipe because even though there is a fair bit of vegetable chopping, there is barely any washing up because it all comes together in a one pot. You will need to use a large pot with a lid. My 3.7L dutch oven works perfectly.
- I love to use homemade chicken stock that I make in big batches every few months and keep in the freezer. I also save the carrot tops/peels, onion and garlic skins, celery leaves and other vegetable scraps and chicken off cuts in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I make another bag of chicken stock. It’s the circleeee of liiiiiifeeeee…
A note on leftovers.
What I like even more about this Chicken Risoni Soup is the leftovers. The next day, the pasta has soaked up the rest of the liquid and the texture is more like a risotto. I actually love a dish with built in leftovers, so to speak, and I don’t mind that the dish ‘changes’ by the next day. It reheats and transports really well, if you’re taking lunch to work. Don’t forget to add some parmesan, fresh herbs and a crack of black pepper on top. But if you don’t love the new texture, you could reheat it in a small pot and add a little extra chicken stock and that should get you roughly back to where you started last night.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you try it, please give it a rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicyicecream. It really makes my day to see you guys trying out my recipes!
Related Post: One Pot Moroccan Chicken
One Pot Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup
This Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup is like the love child of a minestrone and a risotto. It's hearty, chunky, delicious and perfect for any time of year. Even better it all comes together in one pot for minimal washing up!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 slices shortcut bacon, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 chicken breasts, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup small pasta such as risoni
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 50 g baby spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsely finely chopped
- Finely grated parmesan and fresh crusty bread, to serve
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until slightly softened.
Add chicken and garlic and continue to stir until chicken becomes opaque.
Add wine, tomato and chicken stock, and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the risoni, zucchini and cannellini beans and stir to combine. Increase the heat again to medium high and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the risoni is al dente.
Remove from the heat and stir in spinach and fresh parsley
Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with parmesan cheese, more cracked black pepper and crusty bread.