Earlier this year, when the weather was a bit cooler, I came across a recipe for Pasta e Ceci Soup. In August, on probably one of the hottest days of the year, I decided to make the chick pea soup again. My family is still trying to figure out why I made the soup that night as we sweat through dinner. I guess I was craving chick peas! But, for the life of me, I could not find that recipe. I searched in all the cookbooks but came up empty.
I finally came across the recipe on Serious Eats, posted by Kristen Swenson of Cheap, Healthy, Good. I was so excited. It was such a great soup and I wanted to keep the recipe in a place where I could find it. As she had mentioned it was in Giada DeLaurentiis' Everyday Pasta Cookbook.
The ingredients are common staples and the recipe is very similar to another soup Giada makes called Pasta e Fagioli. Like Kristen, I enjoy a pasta-style soup with pancetta. It gives the soup a wonderful flavor. I also like the way you thicken the soup by pureeing the chickpeas. It makes a hearty soup that can be complemented with a loaf of crusty bread.
Cooking is so easy when the ingredients are staples, the time and preparation is about 30 minutes and there are hungry people waiting to try something new.
Ingredients - serves 4 to 6
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 large fresh rosemary spring
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
3/4 cup ditalini or other small, tubular pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine to make a sachet.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes and herb sachet. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Discard the sachet. Transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture to a blender and reserve.
Add the ditalini to the soup pot, cover, and bring the liquid back to a boil. Boil gently until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Puree the reserved bean mixture until smooth, then stir the puree into the boiling soup. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls.
Sprinkle each serving with some Parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.