Chicken Soup with Fregula Pasta, Celery Root & Escarole

First published March 2012

Thanks to Job Yacubian of The Farmer’s Wife in Ancramdale for this perfect-for-a-snowy-day soup.  Made with Fregula (or fragola) which looks like a grain but is actually a pasta from Sardinia.


Chicken Soup with Fregula Pasta, Celery Root, and Escarole


  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups roasted chicken meat, shredded into bite size
  • 1 cup slab bacon, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups sliced sweet onion
  • 2 cups roughly chopped leeks, white part only
  • 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 cups celery root, cut in large dice
  • 4 cups cooked fregola pasta (or orzo is a great substitute)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (two 32-oz. containers)
  • Herb packet (3 dried bay leaves and 10 branches fresh thyme, tied together with string)
  • 6 cups escarole, washed and torn


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbs. freshly grated Parmesan


☞  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook slowly until it starts to crisp a little and the fat renders, about 5 minutes.

☞  Add the onion, leeks, and chile flakes, increase the temperature to medium-high, and stir occasionally. Cook until the onions and leeks have begun to soften, making sure the onions do not color—about 3 minutes.

☞  Add the carrots, celery root, salt, pepper, chicken broth, and the herb packet, and stir together; increase the heat to high and continue cooking at a low bubble until the vegetables soften, about 30 minutes.

☞  When the vegetables are cooked but still have some structure, stir in the escarole and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add pasta and picked chicken

☞  Drizzle each serving with Olive oil, lemon zest and sprinkle with cheese.

(Serves 6-8)