Nona's Soup Recipe

Homemade Soup Day - February 4th, 2016

Written By Alyce Ferragine aka Frankie's mom

My mother-in-law, Frankie’s Italian Nona, gave me a lesson in making soup when I was a new bride almost fifty years ago.  Until that lesson, soup was something my grandmother made once a year.   It was scotch broth, that took all day to cook in a huge pot.  The homemade soup was packaged in mason jars and every home got a sample.  It was delicious and we always looked forward to it.  Other than that in a Canadian home, soup was something made by Campbell’s.

Frankie’s Nona took the mystery out of making soup.  It was something she made a few times a week, starting the process at 10:30 in the morning to serve for noon that day.  No special stock pot was necessary, nor any unusual ingredients.  The basic method can be adapted to make any kind of soup for any kind of taste buds.  I decided to share her method (she had no recipes) for making a simple chicken noodle soup.    

In the photo above is Frankie's dad in the suit, his uncle Peter is the baby, and his aunt Mary is opposite of my dad. Nona Ferragine in the middle. This is the passport photo taken when they immigrated to Canada in ???

Nona’s Chicken Soup

  • 2 chicken legs, skinned (or thighs, wings breasts whatever is on hand)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped with leaves if available
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 or 2 ripe tomatoes (or 1 cup canned)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Chicken oxo cube (if a flavour boost is needed)
  • ½ to ¾ cup small pasta such as tubettini, orzo or broken spaghetti

In a large enough pot cook the onion and celery in a small amount of oil until soft.  Add the chicken to the pot and cover with the water.  Chop and seed the tomatoes and add to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer and do whatever you have to do until it is 30 minutes before lunch, or whenever the chicken will fall off the bones.  Remove the chicken from the pot, bring the pot to boiling.  At this point you can add some pasta, usually about ¾ cup of tubettini, orzo, or spaghetti broken into small pieces.  Add salt and pepper, and  if the soup needs it add a packet of chicken oxo.  Chop the chicken, or pull it off the bones (similar to pulled pork) and add to the soup.  Finish with a handful of fresh chopped parsley (if available).

That’s it, the basic recipe, almost as easy as opening a can but made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

To this basic chicken soup, you can add mushrooms, carrots, chopped spinach, peas or tiny meatballs. You can substitute rice for the pasta, add red and green peppers and you have gumbo. You can alter this recipe to a beef soup, by changing the chicken to stew beef and using pepperinis as the pasta.  Scotch broth?  No problem, substitute lamb for the chicken, add carrots, turnip and peas and use barley instead of pasta.  Wanna make tortilla soup?  Change the chicken to ground chicken or beef, add a taco seasoning mix along with chopped peppers and black beans, for the pasta cut up a tortilla and place at bottom of bowl before serving. 

Be creative, this is the only soup recipe you need!