Chicken Orzo Soup with Arugula Pesto

Recipe by Chef Jonathan Bardzik // serves 4


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 cups arugula microgreens
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 8”) quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Champagne vinegar


Make pesto: In the bowl of a food processor combine garlic, parmesan and walnuts. Process into fine meal. Add arugula and process into a purée. While running, drizzle in 1/2cup olive oil and process for 10 seconds longer.

Cook pasta: Bring a 2-3 quart pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 2 tbs salt and orzo pasta. Cook to al dente and drain. Reserve.

Cook chicken: Season chicken on both sides with salt. Warm 2 tbs olive oil in a 4 quart saucepan. Working in two batches, cook chicken through. Remove from saucepan, let rest for 10 minutes and cut into 1/2” pieces.

Make soup: Return the saucepan you used to cook the chicken to medium heat with remaining 2 tbs olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add stock and zucchini and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta, chicken, and pesto and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Season to taste with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.