Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tour of Italy ~ Day 14... Moving through Molise

Molise is the second smallest and newest Italian region, since it was established in 1963, when the region Abruzzi e Molise was split in two. It became effective only in 1970. Molise for the most part is uncharted country, the wines from there are little known. The food is very clean and often served in soup style.


A wonderfully satisfying soup for a cold winter night. A salad and bread complete the meal. We love it pureed and served as a dip with homemade polenta chips. It can be prepared a day or two ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator and made with either 1/2 lb chickpeas, soaked overnight or 1-15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained.

1 1/2 lbs chicken wings, necks and back, or cut-up whole chicken
2 stalks celery, in 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, quartered
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, halved
3 bay leaves
Parsley-fresh, 2 or 3 sprigs
1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 peperoncino crushed, more or less to taste
1/2 lb conchigliette (small shells), broken up fettuccine, any small pasta will do
Place the chicken in a large heavy saucepan. Cover with cold water to a depth of 2 inches.
Bring to a boil.
Skim the surface till clear.
Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till chickpeas are tender.
(If using canned chickpeas, cook chicken and vegetables for about 1 hour and then add the chickpeas for 15 minutes.) Use canned chicken broth to save time. The taste will, of course, suffer, but it is still good.
Remove chicken pieces and the bay leaves with a slotted spoon.
If you like bits of chicken in your soup, remove what chicken meat you can off the bones. Add to the broth.
Add the pasta and cook till tender, about 12 minutes.
In a bowl, mix 1/4-cup stock with the olive oil and peperoncino.
Serve soup into individual bowls and then pour a small amount of the hot oil mixture over each serving.

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