Jeff Mauro’s Mother’s Chicken Tortellini Soup

Cook Time
1h 50 min
6-8 servings

The key to this recipe is to almost undercook the tortellini so that they are super al dente. You want that chew and texture, and when you ladle the piping hot soup over them, they will cook just a little bit more and be rendered perfect. Nothing ruins a bowl of chicken soup like soggy noodles.

Related: Watch The Kitchen’s Jeff Mauro Make the Most Tender Short Rib Bourguignon



Tbsp olive oil
chicken wings
bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
medium carrots, diced, or more as needed
stalks celery, diced, or more as needed
shallots, grated on a box grater
splashes dry sherry
quarts good-quality, low-sodium chicken stock
sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
bay leaf
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
lemon, zested and juiced, plus lemon wedges, for garnish
cups fresh cheese tortellini, cooked to very al dente and cooled
cup freshly grated Parmesan from a block
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Step 1

Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the chicken wings, breasts and thighs skin-side down and cook without moving until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Set aside the chicken.

Step 2

Add the carrots, celery and shallots to the pot. Sauté, stirring all the while, until the shallots are translucent, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with the sherry and scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the stock, thyme and bay leaf, then return the chicken to the pot and bring to a low simmer; simmer until the breasts are cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Set the chicken breasts aside to cool on a plate.

Step 3

Leave the dark pieces in for another 20 minutes, removing the scum and fat off the top of the broth periodically. Remove the thighs and wings, then shred the meat from the thighs. If the vegetables are too mushy, strain the soup and add another round of fresh celery and carrots to the pot; simmer until just soft.

Step 4

Shred the chicken breasts and whatever can be salvaged from the wings and pour any reserved juices back into the soup pot. Add the shredded chicken and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Just before serving, add the lemon zest and juice to taste.

Step 5

Put some cooked tortellini in each individual bowl, then ladle the soup over. Serve immediately to retain the al dente quality of the tortellini. Garnish with a wedge of lemon, Parmesan and fresh parsley.

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