Chicken Soup with Semolina Pasta Recipe

Chicken Soup With Homemade Semolina Pasta that We Called Melonbon Soup

I eat this soup and I’m back home with Grandma!

Prep time: Approx. 45 min.
Cook time: Approx. 2 – 3 hrs.
Total time: 4 Hrs. +
Yield: Makes a good size pot of soup (10 – 12 servings)

Chicken Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 large whole chicken
  • Approx. 14 cups of water (Or enough water to cover the chicken. This will vary based on size of chicken and pot)
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 chicken bouillon (Sometimes 2 are needed)
  • 3 large stalks of celery (Chop the celery leaves up and through them in as well)
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. rosemary (Grind it up in your hand before dropping it into the pot)Some Fresh Ground Black Pepper)

Semolina Pasta Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semolina flour (You might have to get this at a specialty shop. Or you can get your Semolina Flour online)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. warm water
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. of Parmesan
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • Course ground black pepper

See below for VERY detailed recipe instructions
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How to make the Homemade Semolina Pasta.

(You need to do this first because you want the pasta to have time to dry properly. You could even do this the night before making the soup.)

Pour the Semolina flour onto a clean counter and then make a well. Add 2 large eggs. Slowly mix with a fork, gradually adding more flour to the egg.

After it’s mix well with the eggs, add some olive oil, warm water, salt, parsley, Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper using measures mentioned above. You will eventually add all the olive oil and water as you go. Start with 1 Tbsp. of each then start kneading the dough like you would knead bread dough. Add another Tbsp. of olive oil and water, knead some more. Then add one more Tbsp. of olive oil and water and knead some more. The amount of oil and water might very a little bit. You are shooting for a nice elastic consistency. When you are done kneading the dough it should almost feel dry and a little rough. Note: This dough is going to feel very tough as you are kneading it; this is why you will be slowly adding in the olive oil and water.

Break up the dough into five small dough balls and let them sit on the counter to dry. I usually make the pasta dough first so it has time to dry. You want the pasta dough to dry because you will be grating the pasta with a grater. It’s easier when the pasta dough is hard when you are grating it so instead of making one large dough ball to dry, I make several small dough balls so the pasta dries faster throughout. This will make the grating process much easier.

After the past dough balls have been sitting on the counter for about 30 minutes or so. (I’m assuming you have been working on the soup while these are drying). Work with the dough balls again, knead them a bit and get them a little soft again, form them back into balls and let sit on the counter to dry some more.

The soup usually takes about 2-1/2 hours or so to cook so the pasta has a good amount of time to dry out a bit. Note: One thing I like to do with the pasta is make it the day before you make the soup. Go through the whole process of making the pasta dough and letting it sit out on the counter to dry as described about, then after 2 hours or so, wrap the pasta dough balls with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge. Take them out the next day a grate the pasta onto a large cutting board. Spread out the pasta and let dry for a while. (30 minutes or so is fine).

After you have grated the pasta dough you will add it to the pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking the soup. So when the soup is done and is tasting great, at that time you will add the fresh grated pasta to the soup and cook for 3 minutes and then serve soup. Note: When you use a grater to grate the pasta make sure you use the side with the largest holes. You can check out the photos to see what I use to grate the pasta. After you have grated all the pasta, spread it all out on a large cutting board or on wax paper that is spread out on the table so it can dry some more in it’s grated state.

Special Note:
This Semolina Pasta Dough Recipe usually makes too much for the soup. Better to have too much than not enough. You have to make a judgment call about how much of the Semolina to add to your soup. You don’t want too much pasta in the soup or it will take over the soup and over power the chicken and the broth. So you want to make sure you have a good amount of broth left after adding the pasta. Personally I like a lot of this wonderful homemade Semolina Pasta added to the soup, but if you add too much it’s going to be a mushy mess and you will have to dig through all the pasta just to find some yummy chicken! You can always take the leftover pasta you don’t use and cook it later and add olive oil and Parmesan cheese and some fresh chopped parsley. YUM! Great snack!

How to make the Malenban Soup (Chicken Soup Recipe)

Wash chicken, remove guts (insides) of chicken and throw away. Make sure you keep the skin on. Wash the inside and outside of chicken. Place chicken in a large pot, preferably a large pot that has a nice thick bottom. Add water (enough to cover chicken). Bring water to boil. Once it reaches a rapid boil, bring temperature down to a low boil. (Low boil, means almost not boiling).

Add a Bay Leaf, Chicken bouillon, Large Stalks of Celery, Large Carrots, Onion, Large Cloves of Fresh Garlic, Garlic Powder, Salt, Tarragon, Marjoram, Rosemary, Ground black pepper as measured above. Stir the pot well after adding each item listed above.

You will know when the chicken has been cooked enough when you see the meat falling off the bone when you stir the pot or rotate the chicken. Oh yeah, every 15 minutes or so rotate the chicken and be sure to keep stirring the soup throughout the entire cooking process about every 5 minutes or so. Note: The chicken is usually cooked enough after about 1-1/2 hours of cooking in the pot at a slow boil. This will very depending on size of pot, size of chicken and how much water was used to just cover the chicken.

Once the chicken is tender and falling off the bone (This usually starts happening with the legs), you will want to carefully remove the chicken from the pot and other pieces that fall off and place it on a large chopping block. Be sure to search through the soup for any bones that may have fallen off the chicken and remove them from the soup or else your guests will get a crunchy surprise. Sometimes the legs will fall off into the soup. Once all of the chicken (And any loose bones) are out of the pot, you need to start separating the good meet from the fatty nasty parts. Take your time going through all the meat on the chicken creating a pile of good meat. Make sure the soup is still cooking at this point. Once you have all the good chicken meat separated out (Fat, Cartilage, Bones, etc… removed), you need to cut up the chicken into small byte-sized pieces. Check the photos to see the size I cut the chicken pieces into.

Important Note:
Depending on the size of your pot and the chicken itself, your soup (or broth) might still be watery. If it is, cook it some more at a slow boil to condense it some more. At this point you can also throw in another chicken bouillon and stir while letting it dissolve. Let the broth cook a while at a slow boil until it gets to a point were it does not taste watery. I usually cook the broth without the chicken for about another 30 – 45 minutes or so. I also usually have to add the second chicken bouillon as well, because of the large pot I like to use. Note: You may need to spoon out some extra grease if you see it pooling on top while the soup is cooking without the chicken. I taste until I know it’s perfect. As grandma Salerno used to say… “You put, you taste, you put some more and you just know when it’s done!” … You will just know! You also need to make sure that the carrot chunks are soft enough to easily cut in half with the side of the wooden spoon. At this point you will take the good chicken that you separated out and place it into the pot. Stir and let cook for another 5 minutes. You do not want to over cook the chicken because it will start to become tough.

Very important last step! Put in the fresh grated pasta and cook for 3 minutes and serve right away. The fresh Semolina pasta is what makes this soup so special! I also like to add a lot of fresh grated Parmesan on the soup before eating.

That’s it! You’re done….. Easy as Pie!


Historical Note: I was having problems trying to find any information on the proper spelling of Malenban Soup or even the mention of that name. This is what my family has called the soup since Grandma was in Italy. So I had to ask a few relatives about this one. This is the history I have on this wonderful soup so far.

In the 12th century (1194-1250) Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick the II who was of German descent ruled over Bisgelia in the province of Barre. He built a castle called “Castel Del Monte (castle of the mount)” (castle of the mountain)

The Germans prepare a dish called “spaetzle” which is a noodle . The shape of the spaetzle resembles the pasta we make from the Semolina flour which we call “malenban”. I am still not sure of the spelling. Leon believes the Italians put their own spin on the spaetzle and it became what we now know as malenban.

There you have it. History about this soup from the family. What I find interesting is that my grandmother was from south Italy (Bisceglie, Italy) and the origins of this soup was from Germany and north Italy and made it’s impact all the way down to south Italy. Just amazing!

Update: I just had a wonderful email conversation with a guy named Vito from the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY who’s mother is from the same town in Italy my grandmother and grandfather are from! He said their family called this soup Molingband and eventually jokingly used to call it Marlon Brando soup. Vito is the first person outside of my family who has heard of this soup under the name of Malonbon or variations thereof.

Another Update: I have now heard from a handful of people who know this soup by the name of  “Malonbon soup” and all of them have family from the Bari, Italy area. Seems this was a very local recipe.

And we have another update!🙂 I just heard from a visitor who has family from Naples and they called this recipe “Malenbanza”!  Yay, OK so I have now officially have heard three names for this soup! Melonbon, Molingband and Malenbanza.


Chicken Soup with Semolina Pasta Recipe Photo Gallery

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15 replies »

  1. Grandma Toto from Bari made this. OMG, I could have eaten all of it if they let me. Thank you for sharing this recipe, and to everyone for giving some history about it. It’s so cold and windy here today in upstate NY, and I’m going to give this a whirl. Thanks!🙂


    • Wonderful! Yes, this is such an amazing recipe. When I was a kid and my grandma Salerno would ask me what I wanted her to make for Sunday dinner when I was visiting on the weekend I always said one of these two recipes: This chicken soup recipe or the Chicken Cutlets. Really a wonderful dish! Make sure you add lots of Parm! Glad you are going to make it! It’s wonderful!


      • Made the dough yesterday but had to wait until tonight to feast. I followed your recipe exactly and omg, transported back to Grandma’s kitchen in Nyack. Haven’t had this in 30 years or more and the pasta was perfect! A little small, but perfect!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yay! That is awesome. So glad you made it. Yes, it takes me way back every time I make it! …to a simpler time at grandmas house.


  2. Yes!!! My grandmother used to make this soup. She was from Bari. Sh could not find semolina flour in the store where we lived in Ft. Worth, Texas, so she used Farina to make the dough. I just remember her making the well putting the eggs in and mixing it without anything else. She would spread it to dry on the counter and the soup was my favorite ever. So glad to find you page!


    • Yes, this is a simple yet magical recipe! The semolina really makes it! My grandma Salerno was also from Bari, this recipe definitely seems very local to the Bari region. EnJoY! To be authentic you must have fresh Italian bread with lots of butter with this. My grandmother made me have the bread on the side. I did no have a choice! And I had to have lots of butter on the bread. If I was wimpy with the butter she would said. You need-a more butter on that!!! and a big-a spoon! That was another thing. If you tried to eat her soup with a small spoon she would yell at you. LOL!


    • Wonderful!🙂 Mambricoli is definitely a new name for this dish. Have not heard of that yet. Thanks for sharing, I love getting more information about this special recipe!


  3. Hi, My family is from near Naples we call it Malenbanza forgive the spelling.Very similar Never knew anyone one but us who ate this. We had it every holiday in our chicken soup. I made it as a gift a few years ago for my family as a special treat. Great to see it out there.


    • You are the first that has family outside the Bari are that know this recipe. Malenbanza! Good to know this has a name variation. Very good to know. I am going to add this in the special historical note I have about the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Such a great recipe! My favorite from childhood!


  4. I too had SUCH a difficult time finding ANYTHING referring to the “malenban” soup or the way to prepare it. I am a 4th generation family member who has only watched my aunt make the soup that my grandma and great grandma (from Bari) used to make. I was so pleased when I came across this post, thank you and have a Merry Christmas!


    • and Merry Christmas to you as well! Glad you found the page! Yes, this is rare recipe and does seem very localized to families form the Bari area. Wonderful meal! One of my favorites!


  5. It’s so wonderful! Every time I make it I am instantly taken back to a simpler time and place at my grandma’s house enjoying a second bowl if soup and seeing her smile because i was enjoying her food so much! So much love! So far the only people that know this recipe have relatives from the Bari area. Definitely a very localized recipe!


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