Chickpea Pastina Soup for Supper

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.

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What’s left in the pot after I have a bowl for supper!

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

Directions:

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.

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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.

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