Pasta and chickpea soup
This soup has saved me countless times when I’ve been short on time (or ideas) and needed to get a nourishing dinner on the table quickly. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are packed with dietary fiber and protein. Mashing them up a bit before you add the pasta adds a mix of textures and thickens the soup nicely, though this step is up to you.
Portions: Makes 4 servings
- 3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 lb/190 g plum tomatoes, grated, or one 28-0z/800 g can diced tomatoes, with their juice
- One 15-oz/430 g can chickpeas
- 3 to 4 cups/720 to 960 ml homemade vegetable broth, homemade made chicken broth, or best quality low sodium, fat free commercial vegetable or chicken broth
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups/170 g soup pasta such as small or medium shells, tubettim or ditali
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for serving
Warm the garlic in the 3 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy- bottomed pot placed over medium heat. When the garlic is fragrant, but before it has begun to brown, add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened and translucent but not browned. Reduce the heat to medium-low if necessary to avoid browning. Sprinkle in the rosemary. Pour the tomatoes into the pot and bring the soup to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have begun to break down but still have a lot of liquid. Add the chickpeas (and their liquid, if you like—I usually do) and 1 cup/240 ml of the broth. Let the chickpeas cook for about 5 minutes, and then use a potato masher to mash some of them. Pour in the rest of the broth and season with 1 tsp salt and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. Bring the soup to a boil and stir in the pasta. Cover partially and cook, stirring from time to time to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the pasta is al dente (the cooking time will depend on the brand and shape). If the soup becomes too thick, add a splash more broth or a little water. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt or red pepper flakes, if necessary. Ladle the soup into warmed shallow, rimmed bowls and drizzle each serving with a little olive oil. Serve immediately. Pass the cheese at the table.