Spicy Chicken Farfalle Soup

A hot bowl of spicy chicken and bow tie soup is just the thing on a cold January day.

We’re both fans of Southwestern style rubs. Penzey Spices makes a good one, as does Dean & Deluca. I’m sure there are others. I whipped up this wonderfully spicy chicken noodle soup using leftover chicken thighs I’d rubbed and broiled for last night’s dinner. Vary your ingredients according to how much chicken you have on hand and what’s in your pantry. By the way, if you haven’t tried Better Than Bouillon brand, it really is–better than bouillon. Much better. In addition to plain chicken and beef, they make 42 other styles of soup base including a lobster base that is absolutely delicious.


  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs rubbed with Southwestern-style seasoning and broiled
  • sweet onions, chopped coarse
  • carrots, chopped coarse
  • celery, chopped coarse
  • sweet corn
  • garlic, chopped coarse
  • Kalamata olives, chopped coarse
  • sun-dried tomatoes, chopped coarse
  • mushrooms, chopped coarse
  • fresh bow tie (or other) pasta
  • Cholula sauce
  • Better Than Bouillon, chicken flavor
  • olive oil
  • Italian herbs (fresh or dried)
  • smoked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • (If I had fresh, hot red peppers, I would have used them)

1. Cut chicken into small pieces and set aside.

2. Place enough water in a pot to cover the ingredients. Add bouillon and bring to a boil.

3. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add chopped vegetables, starting with the carrots and onions as they require more cooking time. Add Italian herbs and stir in well. After two or three minutes, add celery, olives, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until onions are just turning translucent and carrots and celery are just barely crunchy.

4. Add sautéed vegetables to boiling water. Add chicken, Cholula sauce to taste, a few grinds of pepper and the smoked sea salt.

5. Add fresh pasta and continue boiling till just done. (If using store-bought pasta, it is better to add it to the boiling water before adding the other ingredients to cook it to desired tenderness without overcooking the vegetables.)

6. Serve piping hot.

The Perfect Bow-ties

Freshly-made farfalle pasta, sprinkled with flour to prevent it from sticking, ready for a pot of salty boiling water.

Two months ago, I was going to throw the pasta machine out the window and be done with the whole homemade pasta idea. But those who know me, know I am tenacious (ok, stubborn). With each new attempt at spaghettis, angel hair, fettuccine, lasagna and ravioli I figured out another piece of the puzzle. From the frustrating beginning of sticky or crumbly dough, I pressed on until my fettucine strands no longer stuck together and the lasagna noodles no longer crumbled apart. And yesterday, Jack’s favorite: farfalle! I turned out a double batch cut from lasagne noodles and pinched together in the center to form perfect little bow ties.

Then Jack upped the ante. The farfalle were boiled for three minutes and topped with a mix of sautéed onions, garlic and pine nuts and served with rockfish a la meunière. Oven-roasted brussels sprouts, orange slices and steaming cups of honeybush tea complimented the main entrée. Cloudberry sorbet made from berries we’d picked in late summer ended the meal perfectly.