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A lighter twist on chicken and dumplings, this deeply savory soup features tender “meatballs” made with ricotta

Chicken Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

1 review
Appears in May-June 2022

2 hours 1 hour active, plus chilling

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Chicken Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

Polpette di ricotta, or ricotta “meatballs” (named only for their round shape, not because they contain meat), hail from Calabria in southern Italy. In the humble soup known as polpette di ricotta in brodo, the “meatballs” are gently poached in hot broth, where they turn into light, tender dumplings. The mildness of the ricotta allows the savory, pleasantly funky flavor of pecorino to come to the fore. For our version, we enhance store-bought chicken broth by simmering in a few aromatic vegetables plus bone-in chicken thighs that later provide shredded meat to make the soup more substantial. The dumpling mixture needs at least an hour or up to 24 to chill and hydrate before shaping, and the formed dumplings require at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to firm up before cooking, so plan accordingly. If convenient, the broth can be made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days, but if making ahead, it’s best to wait to shred the chicken until just before serving.




*Don’t bother finely chopping the vegetables* for the broth. Cut them into chunks that will soften and release flavor into the liquid but that still are large enough to easily scoop out with a slotted spoon. When removing the dumplings from the pot after poaching, be sure to handle them gently as they’re quite delicate.

2 hours

1 hour active, plus chilling


  • 3

    slices (5 ounces) hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces

  • ounces (without rind) pecorino Romano cheese, cut into rough ½-inch chunks, plus finely grated pecorino Romano cheese, to serve


  1. 01
    In a food processor, combine the bread and pecorino chunks; process until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the ricotta, egg yolks, nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper; process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

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