Full disclosure: I am abnormally obsessed with soup. Once I start eating it, I can’t stop. It’s a (delicious) problem.
So far, I’ve been surprised about how few soups are on menus in Rome. I guess that’s more of a Tuscan thing. The one soup that I have been seeing around, however, is Pasta e Ceci Soup (pasta & chickpeas). There’s a restaurant near my apartment, Ristorante Paris, that makes a very good version of the soup. I’ve been going there a few times a week to get my fix.
To feed my addiction, I’ve decided I should try to be better about making my own soup at home. It’s hard, though. A lot of recipes for soup out there end up turning out really bland, don’t you think? And, I’m bad at making my own stock, so I guess that adds to my difficulties as well.
Before I left for Italy, I remembered that I’d seen a recipe for Ceci e Pasta Soup in Williams Sonoma’s “Rome” catalog, so I decided that I should at least try to give that a whirl. Then I looked at the comments. They were about 75% negative. I tried to find another recipe, but there were so many conflicting versions on the internets. Also, a lot of them added pancetta or guanicole, and I was sure that the version I loved at Ristorante Paris had neither.
So, I winged a recipe for the first time in my life, and it turned out to be really tasty! I’m really excited about it, so I wanted to share it with you:
Pasta e Ceci Soup
Serves 2 or 3 as an entree (2 if one person dining is a soup freak)
1 can chickpeas, 1/3 pureed (I crushed these with a fork since I don’t have a food processor or an immulsion blender here)
1 1/2 – 2 cups, chicken or vegetable broth, depending on how brothy you like your soup
1 tomato, diced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 parmsean cheese rind
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 fresh rosemary stalk, chopped finely
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup pasta of your choice
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesean cheese for serving, if desired
Heat olive oil over medium high heat.
Add onion, and a pinch of salt & pepper and sautee until soft, about 8 minutes
Add celery and carrots and continue sauteeting, about 10 more minutes
Add tomato, garlic and half of the parsley and continue sauteeing, about 8 more minutes
Add broth and chickpeas and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta to al dente. Save the pasta water.
After you’ve brought your soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add pasta and some of reserved pasta water, if your soup needs more broth.
Add remaining parsley, remove parmesan rind and serve.
Top with freshly grated parmesan if desired.