Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Easy Chunky Chickpea and Pasta Soup

A few weeks ago I wrote about making a very tasty 30 minute chickpea and pasta soup. My friend Catie, who regularly comments here, asked me to the post the recipe. I've been meaning to do it for awhile now and this morning I finally jotted it down so I could pass it along to you. This recipe is from Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World which is one of my all time favorite cookbooks. I think most people who love to cook have one or two favorite cookbooks, (my dad always called his his "Cooking Bible".) This is definitely one of mine, and I wrote about it here.

Mark Bittman's Chunky Chickpea and Pasta Soup, page 129

Note: There is also a blended version where the vegetables and chickpeas are processed with an immersion blender. It looks tasty, but since I don't own an immersion blender and hate trying to puree soups in a blender, I went with the chunky version, which also had the benefit of saving on cooking time.

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 cups cooked* or 1 can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup small pasta, such as elbow macaroni or broken spaghetti (I used 1/2 cup)

salt and pepper

fresh parsley (optional)

(Click "read more" for the cooking directions)

Put 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium high heat. Add garlic, carrot, celery and onion and cook stirring occasionally until very fragrant and vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. (Note: I pressed, then chopped my garlic before adding to the oil.) Add rosemary and chickpeas and stir well.

Pour in enough water to cover the chickpeas, cover, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. (This was about 3 cups of water for my pan.) Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water until nearly tender, drain. (I used mini penne pasta, but that is just what I had in the house at the time.)

Just before serving, stir the pasta into the soup and reheat. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and serve, drizzled with a little extra olive oil.

A couple more notes from me:

This is a fairly flexible recipe. Most of these things are items I keep in the house at all times, however, at the time that I made it, my celery was looking mighty limp, so I made it without. It was still wonderful. The next time I make it I will use the celery if I have it, but I won't sweat it if I don't. I could also see adding cooked chicken.

If you are not going to serve and eat all the soup at once, Mr. Bittman suggests keeping the soup and pasta separated until just before reheating. The idea here, I think, it to keep the pasta from being soggy. I didn't do this. I forgot and added all the pasta at once. It turned out to be fine, but I ate this all in fairly short order. (It makes 4 small - medium size servings or 3 large main course servings.) In the future, I would probably do as he suggested, maybe coating the pasta with a little olive oil first before putting it in a storage container to keep it from sticking together.

Finally, that last step about drizzling olive oil over the top is worth it - yum!

* Buying dried chickpeas and cooking them yourself is not only incredibly frugal but also really tasty! Mr. Bittman has a wonderful recipe in his cookbook for doing them - and they freeze great! That said, I still always keep a few cans in the pantry for quick emergency dishes.

Photo by: Martin Deutsch


RML said...

Sounds yummy! I would like to start experimenting with dried beans to save money, so I am going to try this tomorrow if I can rustle up the ingredients. My husband comes home very late tomorrow from a business trip and it might just be the thing he needs with some crusty seed bread :)

Dawn said...

RML - I hope you enjoy it! It would be great with that bread you mention!

RML said...

Ah, he´s not getting back from his business trip until midnight tonight..I decided to wait till Friday night now and try it then.