Well dear readers, I'm thinking about doing a cookbook. But when I looked over my recipes, I realized I was missing a chickpea soup recipe, the kind you find in Italy.
Then the other day, lo and behold, Holly, my yoga teacher said, "I'm coming over and we are going to make chickpea soup." I don't usually argue with Holly, and I didn't this time either. She based her soup on a Marcella Hazan recipe she found online, but of course, we modified and simplified it a bit.
The results were simply astoundingly delicious. We made it on a cold winter's day, and it was the most perfect heartwarming, stomach-filling, soul-satisfying soup you can imagine.
- 4 whole cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 large can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes
- Fresh rosemary (a few sprigs)
- 2½ cups drained chickpeas (canned or soaked)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth*
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Romano cheese for sprinkling on top
1. In a large soup pot, gently sauté the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil.
2. Remove the pot from the stove until the garlic stops bubbling then add the can of whole tomatoes (letting the oil cool a bit prevents a kitchen accident). Gently mash the tomatoes to release the juices and get the process of breaking down the tomatoes started. Cook on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Take the leaves off the rosemary twig and add to the tomatoes. Also add the chickpeas. Heat until warmed up. At this point, you can shut off the stove and go to work and finish the soup later, or you can finish it now!
4. Add 1 cup of the broth, a few grinds of fresh pepper, and the red pepper flakes if you want a spicy soup. Cook with a lid on for 15 minutes to infuse the chickpeas with the flavors.
5. The next step is optional: Take out 2/3 of the soup and blend in the blender, and add it back to the pot. Try to include the garlic cloves in the blended part to mix it up a bit.
6. Add 1 cup of rice and 3 more cups of broth and boil then simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is done. When the rice is done, the soup is done!
7. Add a spoonful of Romano cheese on top of each bowl (unless you're a vegan, then you can skip that step).
* Holly always uses organic "Better Than Bullion," which is a liquid condensed broth. If you use that, it's pretty salty so there is no need to add more salt.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com