Much of this soup's appeal is in its simplicity. Packed with fresh flavours, mixing pasta with bites of chicken and a bounty of just-tender vegetables, it is easy to see why this soup is traditionally eaten as a restorative. Serve it as a starter and enjoy the extra chicken in sandwiches the next day.
Add 450 g (1 lb) of the cooked chicken to the soup if you are serving it as a light lunch or supper rather than a starter. * Replace the chicken with two 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) turkey drumsticks. * Increase the fibre content by using wholewheat instead of white spaghetti. Alternatively, add 1 can butter beans, about 400 g, drained and rinsed. Stir in the beans with the chicken and just heat through. * Vary the vegetables to suit the season – small cauliflower florets, finely diced celeriac, sliced mushrooms or diced green, red and yellow peppers are all ideal. * Thicker fettuccine or tagliatelle, or even small pasta shapes, can be used instead of the spaghetti or linguine.
Unlike the majority of vegetables, which are most nutritious when eaten raw, carrots are a better source of beta-carotene when they are cooked. Cooking breaks down their cell membranes, making it easier for the body to convert the beta-carotene they contain into vitamin A. * Both the dark and white chicken meat can be added to the soup. The dark meat contains twice as much iron and zinc as the light meat. * Chicken is an excellent source of protein and it provides many of the B vitamins, particularly B1 and niacin.
A, B1, B6, E, niacin * C, folate, iron * zinc