Chicken Orzo Soup With Pesto
Who's eating chicken soup, even in hot weather? You are, when it's nice and light like this one-pot version. Serve with cornbread. For best flavor and texture, leftovers can be refrigerated for up to one day.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably with basil and garlic (may substitute 2 medium tomatoes, hulled, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic or the same size can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes)
¾ cup dried whole-wheat orzo pasta (may substitute regular dried orzo)
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, or half of each kind
Freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 tablespoons basil pesto, for serving (store-bought or homemade)
Trim/discard excess fat from the chicken, then cut the meat into bite-size chunks, placing them in a large saucepan as you go.
Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices and the orzo; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 7 or 8 minutes, stirring a few times.
Meanwhile, rinse the zucchini or squash and trim/discard the ends. Cut into ½-inch dice, or coarsely chop, to yield 1½ to 2 cups.
Grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the lemon (about half a lemon's worth) directly into the pot, then cut the fruit in half and squeeze in 1 tablespoon of its juice. Stir in the zucchini and/or yellow squash and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. The chicken should be cooked through.
Taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper if you are using the basil-and-garlic-flavored tomatoes; season with about 1¼ teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper if you are using fresh or no-salt-added tomatoes.
Divide among individual bowls; top each portion with the pesto (to taste). Cut the remaining lemon into wedges, for serving.
Nutrition (based on white-meat chicken, no-salt-added tomatoes and whole-wheat orzo) | Calories: 380; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 90 mg; Sodium: 590 mg; Carbohydrates: 32 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 35 g.
(Adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens Quick Homemade: Fast, Fresh Meals in 30 Minutes." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.)