Wheat harvester's soup (minestra di bata il grana)

Time Total time: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
Yields Serves 6
Wheat harvester’s soup (minestra di bata il grana)

Make chicken stock. Place the chicken, carrot, celery, onion, peppercorns, parsley, thyme and bay leaf into a large pot. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer (the water should be barely bubbling). Simmer uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, occasionally skimming off the fat and impurities that rise to the surface.


Carefully remove the chicken to a bowl. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids.


When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and the bones and discard. Shred the dark meat and set aside. Reserve the white meat for another use.


In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and quickly saute the chicken livers until pink inside, about 2 to 3 minutes.


Place the strained stock in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Add the basil sprig, chopped tomato and fresh tagliatelle. Cook until the pasta is done, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the livers and shredded chicken.


Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed, shallow soup bowls. Garnish with parsley leaves.

Adapted from Guiliana Clerico. If you happen to have homemade chicken stock on hand, you can poach some chicken in it before adding the other soup ingredients.

S. Irene Virbila is a former restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She left in 2015.
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