Monday, July 4, 2011

Rigatoni Soup from Cyprus [Mike]

My Mom and Dad never had a car. Never occurred to them to get one either, living in New York City. Neither of them knew how to drive. Everywhere we went we traveled by bus or the subway. Our occasional trips to see my dad’s brother, Uncle Charlie,and his family was a long haul to Brooklyn on the transit system… just one stop before Coney Island.

Aunt Nancy would always serve a traditional Cypriot dish, a chicken soup. (Dad and Uncle Charlie are both from Cyprus, the island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Greece.) She would go to the poultry market and get a freshly killed chicken to make the soup. She would then cook rigatoni macaroni in the soup. It was always served with a plate of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese to sprinkle on top. The Koulermos brothers always waited politely until everyone took their share of cheese, and then went back for a second helping. Sprinkle?

My three brothers and I called it “Rongi Soup” because we couldn’t say macaroni. Mom soon mastered the dish and we had it every couple of weeks.

On Saturdays, Mom would give me $5.00 to go to the chicken market where they had live poultry.  I would walk from 115th Street where we lived to 103rd Street in NYC. I would go inside the market (the smell was awful) and ask one of the sales people if I could have a 6 or 7 pound soup chicken.  He would pick one from the cages and show it to me. Then it was curtains for the chicken.

Years later Rhonda learned how to make Rongi Soup from my mom. All three of our boys love Ron’s chicken soup.

My boys always loaded their Rongi Soup with an enormous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. As the saying goes, “The apples doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Note: I’ve never seen this dish in any restaurant.

1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Put the chicken, chopped carrots, celery and onion in a large soup pot and cover with cold water.  Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken meat is tender (skim off foam every so often).

Take everything out of the pot. Strain the broth. Place the soup back in the pot and bring to a boil.

Add Rigatoni or Penne pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente. The chicken can be served along side or put into the soup. Season the broth with salt, pepper.

No comments:

Post a Comment