Spaghettini is a good stand-in for Asian noodles, but if you can find rice noodles, by all means use them here. Serve the soup in deep bowls with chopsticks or forks as well as spoons. Eat the noodles first and then drink the soup in the Asian manner. Or, to use a spoon only and eat everything together, break the pasta into small pieces before cooking.
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1- inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
1 cup cilantro leaves plus 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound spaghettini
1/2 head bok choy (about 1 pound), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
How to Make It
In a large heavy pot, heat both oils over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, ginger, chili powder, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, fish sauce, cilantro leaves, if using, and the salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken; when it is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-size pieces. Continue cooking the soup for 15 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghettini until just done, about 9 minutes. Drain and add the pasta and the chicken to the soup.
Add the bok choy; bring back to a simmer. Cook until just done, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro, if using.
Wine Recommendation: The piquant Asian juxtaposition of fiery and savory elements demands the cooling influence of an off-dry German riesling. Try a luscious spätlese from the Pfalz.
Notes: Asian fish sauce is available at Asian markets and many supermarkets