Back in December we made Frank’s recipe for Pasta e Ceci from his wonderful blog inspired by the home cooking of his Italian grandmother called Memorie Di Angelina. I had all the ingredients on hand; canned chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, pasta, vegetable broth, canned diced tomato, fresh rosemary, red chile flakes. Then in February we were equally impressed with Linda’s recipe for Zuppa di Ceci from her absolutely delightful blog about food and travel, Ciao Chow Linda.
I’ve enjoyed experimenting with the recipe for Italian chickpea soups. It’s high fiber and heart healthy, made with ingredients from the pantry plus fresh rosemary and garlic. The combination of these simple flavors produces an amazingly complex-tasting result. In about 15 minutes!
In a soup pot, sauté chopped shallot and garlic with red chile flakes in a good amount of olive oil (don’t be shy) for a minute or two.
Add some chopped fresh rosemary. It must be fresh. On one occasion I tried this soup with dried rosemary and was disappointed with the result.
When the garlic is barely light brown, add some chopped tomatoes and their juice. The tomatoes are an accent, as this is not a tomato soup, so do not add too much. Simmer.
Then add vegetable (or chicken) stock. I continue to be a fan of Wolfgang Puck’s stocks. Bring to a boil.
Add drained, rinsed chickpeas and slightly undercooked whole wheat pasta. Lower the heat and cook through. Taste the soup, add salt if necessary.
Serve with a sprig of fresh rosemary and toasted ciabatta bread, rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil.
For a thicker soup, briefly use an immersion blender after adding chickpeas, then add pasta. Or for an elegant version, use the immersion blender to purée the entire soup, omit the pasta. Garnish with drizzled olive oil and rosemary.
One time I added browned Italian Sausage, that was a hit too!
This thicker version used whole wheat shells, and garnished with some pretty chervil.
Do you have an Italian chickpea soup recipe to share? Being obsessed, I would love to try your version too. Please feel free to include a link to your blog post!