Today’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe is a new one around this house (but already a favorite!); it’s based on a variety of recipes around the Internet, and it’s another easy, delicious soup that will impress–just like we like ’em!
And even better, pasta e ceci or pasta and chickpeas (“ceci” is pronounced CHEH-chee by the way) is a great cold weather dish and completely adjustable according to your tastes; you can make it as thick or thin as you like and add whatever spices strike your fancy, from basil to rosemary to thyme.
Below is my basic recipe, but feel free to experiment!
Pasta e Ceci
(Pasta and Chickpeas)
(makes 2 big bowls of soup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped or shredded
1 peperoncino (or hot pepper flakes)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 cups weakly flavored chicken stock or water
1 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup dried soup pasta (something small)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional)
1. Heat olive oil in pot large enough to hold soup and add onion, garlic, carrot, peperoncino, and rosemary. Cook on low heat until translucent, between 10 and 15 minutes (don’t let this burn).
2. Take out rosemary, which I do because we like a subtle rosemary flavor in this. You’re welcome to keep it in.
3. Add chicken stock and chickpeas and simmer for a half hour.
4. Take out about half the chickpeas and crush into a paste (to thicken the soup). You can do this with a blender/food processor, but I just use the back of a big spoon–fewer dishes (which means less water used to wash them!) and less electricity too. Plus, I’m lazy and this saves me from getting out my handheld mixer, which is annoying to clean. Add this mixture to the soup.
5. At this point, test for salt; this will also let you know how much salt you should put in the water with the pasta.
6. About the pasta, I prepare it separately and then combine the two in serving dishes, but most recipes prepare the pasta right inside the soup. I prefer my way so that if there are leftovers, the pasta doesn’t soak up all the broth (I’ve mentioned this before).
7. After combining pasta and soup, stir in parsley.
8. Serve hot with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.