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Chicken Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

4 Servings

2 hours 1 hour active, plus chilling

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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


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Sandra J.
September 10, 2023
So good!
The chicken soup was a big hit with the family. I didn't have any trouble with the ricotta dumplings, but the flavor was a little strong on the first day (good, but strong). They had mellowed a lot when I had leftovers the next day and tasted better in my opinion. This recipe is going in my regular rotation.
Carole M.
October 25, 2022
Delicious comfort food
I made it as written but it seemed wrong to pitch the celery and carrots after the broth was made so I chopped some carrots into very small pieces and kept them in the soup; I'm glad I did both for their color and the sweet yumminess of the carrots. I cooked the dumplings completely and then removed them (was careful not to boil them per the recipe!); for each serving I added them to the broth as it was reheated and this worked wonderfully. A keeper.
Shari S.
June 18, 2022
Delicious and company worthy
This was delicious but I needed to make it a little less fussy at the end and it needed an extra 1.5 tsp of salt. Made according to recipe except I used Asiago cheese and a garlic cheese loaf for the dumplings, which made them very flavorful. I used a cookie scoop which gave me 18 meatballs. Since there are only two of us, I cooked six in the broth each night, which worked well. . After I shredded the chicken, I left it in the broth. This was maybe the best chicken broth I’ve ever made, but next time I would remove the skin from the thighs to decrease the fat in it. If I were making this for company, I would make the broth and the dumplings and shred the chicken the day before.
Gary G.
April 11, 2024
Date night soup
If you are used to spicy or real flavorful, this one is a little more subtle. Was actually really good with Merlot. It went into my saved recipe file.
Tricia S.
October 14, 2022
Subtle Flavors Make a Nice Change
These turned out as pictured, but I had to poach them much longer than the recipe called for (I live at mile-high altitude) to get them past the gluey, sticky stage. I tossed a crushed garlic clove and some thinly sliced carrot and celery in to the broth as it reheated before I poached the dumplings. Everything was better the next day; the cooked dumplings held together overnight. You may want to up the salt in the dumpling dough a bit.
Diana L.

I made this for dinner. The only thing I have changed, I kept the carrots then cut them into smaller pieces then added back to soup. The broth and chicken were very good. However, no one in my family including me liked the Ricotta balls. They were soft and sort of weird. Everyone who eat the soup said, "the balls taste weird"
I have used BelGioioso Ricotta (Con Latte /Whole Milk -its really tasty).