Another week, another storm, another hearty soup! This storm I made a chickpea and pasta soup. It is simple yet filling and savory. The seasonings are simple, relying on the chickpeas for the predominant flavor. I used up some potato water leftover from mashed potatoes the night before, adding an extra layer of flavor. I have made this soup many times, in several variations. This version is my favorite.
It is naturally gluten free, just be careful about the chicken broth you use; most are not safe for celiacs. I really like Kitchen Basics, safe and great flavor. For my pasta I chose Shar anellini which are tiny rings, about of the size of jewelry jump rings. I suppose you could make it with canned chickpeas but I would not recommend that; the time you spend cooking up the beans is worth it for their flavor and firmer texture are very important to the success of this winter soup.
Tuscan ChickPea and Pasta Soup
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
6-7 cups liquid: water, chicken broth, potato water, a mixture is okay
¼ cup EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 large carrot, chopped small
1 ½ celery stalk, chopped small
2 garlic cloves minced
1 ½ tbsp. tomato paste mixed with ¾ cup chicken broth
Salt/pepper to taste
1/3 cup pasta; anellini work well
Put the chickpeas in a big sauce pan, cover them with water, bring to a boil, cook 2 minutes, turn off and cover. Let sit 60 minutes. Drain and rinse them well. Clean out the pot, put the beans in and cover with broth or water. Cook 1.5 to 2 hours until tender. Stir occasionally, add water as needed and taste – I like them done but al dente; still a touch firm.
In a large heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, cook 1 minute, add the carrot and celery bits, cook 4 minutes, add the garlic, saute one more minute. Add the broth/paste mixture. Stir well. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes adding more water or broth if it seems low. It is not that brothy of a mixture. Add 1 tsp. or more of sea salt, a few grinds of fresh black pepper and the pasta; cook the length of time the package says. Turn off and let rest a few minutes before serving it. Be sure to taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. I often have to add more water or broth so it has the consistency I want for serving.
It’s perfect on a cold winter evening with a slice of gf bread or some biscuits and a green salad.
This is an adaptation from a recipe out of a favorite cookbook “Italy Al Dente” by Biba Caggiano. I changed some ingredients and revised the proportions a touch.