Chicken Soup With Homemade Semolina Pasta that We Called Molbann Soup (we pronounce it Malenbon)
I eat this soup and I’m back home with Grandma!
The pasta in this soup is called “u Molbann” or “semola battuta” (semolina pasta). It’s what makes the soup so special!
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
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.
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.
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.
Another update!!! The secrets are being revealed. YaY! I’m very excited about this. I was talking to Guido with Nonnabox about the pasta used in this recipe. I figured because he has this very cool “Ultimate list of Pasta Shapes” on his website that he just might know something about this. I was trying to get more information about the origin of this particular semolina pasta. Guido asked his friend Daniela Giordano about this and here is here wonderful answer.
“The pasta is called “u Molbann” or “semola battuta” – the dish is broth (beef, chicken or vegetable) with pasta made out or semolina (durum wheat semolina), eggs, grated parmigiano, parsley which is kneaded with the same broth. Then you let it rest for about half an hour covered and then cut it in small pieces, and then again in small pieces just like you do with the parsley. The recipe changes very little from area to area, is basically the same.” This is exciting because now I know why my family called this recipe “Molbann” soup, a little lost in translation we actually called if Melonbon soup. Now I know how to pronounce it and why the name. Wonderful! Here is a photo that Daniela Giordano of the “u Molbann pasta” she makes.”
I like her method with the chopping, going to try that. My grandmother used the grater, I’m sue just to save time. This is a big mystery that has been revealed, glad to finally know 🙂
Chicken Soup with Semolina Pasta Recipe Photo Gallery