07 March 2013

Zuppa di Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpea Soup)


When our bodies are one degree warmer, they call out for something hot, soupy and comforting.  It's automatic.  Sometimes, it's the only food that's easy to take and digest.  Apart from less elaborate meals like simple salads or panini (sandwiches), bowls of hot soup have more prevalence on our bed trays.  A bowl of this hot zuppa di pasta e ceci calls out to be enjoyed in the comfort of the bed and pillows propping me while I watch the latest news (Never mind that!  There's nothing great going on in Italy nor the Vatican right now.) and reading an e-book. My brain is already at the dangerous level of rustiness.  It has been out of reading practice for so many years.  It's so strange to be reading a sentence without any interruptions, a paragraph, then a page.  There's silence.

I've been reading Life Well Blogged: No Laughing Allowed by Abbey Fatica & Monica Merrill Mylet.   It had been accompanying me to laughterdom the whole time I was in bed (Thank you Abbey for sending me a copy!).  Its rants of familiarity about motherhood and womanhood hit close to home and shook me to realization that hey, I am not alone in this world with my experiences, thoughts, angst, tiredness, etc., etc. and etc.

I fondly remember a moment during a little round of introductions the first time I met my photo club mates.  Everyone had an interesting profession attached to their handshakes and names and when it was my turn, I shyly attached the line "Just a homemaker." to my name.  The oldest guy in the group spoke with me with earnest eyes.  He told me one of the nicest things a homemaker would ever want to hear.  Never use JUST because stay-at-home moms have one of the hardest jobs.  There's no time schedule, it's 24/7 (I would even say 25/8), no possibilities of vacation or sick leaves and no pay.  But you know what?  We make up what our children remember of their childhood.  It's true isn't it?  Because my childhood memories have my Mom as the protagonist in almost every episode I kept in my mind.


This soup is something very common on Italian tables.  This recipe is the one that my husband grew up with, which came from my mother-in-law and which my children also like.  In this dish, I used dried chickpeas which required overnight soaking in water with bicarbonate.   If you want a quicker recipe, just use the pre-cooked ones then lessen the boiling time by half.  The best kind of pasta to use is maltagliati which is translated to badly cut.  They don't have a specific shape because they are actually the scraps left over from other pasta (like lasagna).  But then there are the taglietelle that you can just break into smaller pieces or ditalini which are perfect for soup dishes. 

Buon appetito!



Zuppa di Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpea Soup)

Ingredients:
Serves 4


  • 200 g. taglietelle, broken to short pieces (or maltagliati or ditalini)
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 200 g.dried chickpeas
  • 1 rosemary twig
  • parsley, chopped finely
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ tablespoon bicarbonate (optional)
  • 2 liters water

  1. The night before, soak chickpeas in water with ½ tablespoon of bicarbonate.  Leave overnight.
  2. The following day, drain chickpeas in a colander and rinse under a running faucet. 
  3. Transfer them to a large saucepan with about 2 liters of cold water.  Add some parsley and let it boil.   When it boils, put down the flame, cover and simmer for 1-½ hours.
  4. About 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, take a ladleful of chickpeas and put them in a blender.  Blend until smooth.   Put the creamed chickpeas back in the saucepan.
  5. In a small saucepan with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary, saute’ garlic until they turn golden.  Take away garlic and discard.   Pour the oil & rosemary in the soup.  Add salt.
  6. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, boil some water for the pasta.  When it boils, add salt.  Add pasta and cook according to the number of minutes indicated in the package or until al dente.
  7. Add the cooked pasta in the soup.
  8. If you want it more watery, just add more water.  
  9. Sprinkle some parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  10. Season with freshly cracked pepper and adjust salt.






8 comments:

  1. Oh dear! This is such a beautiful post...i enjoyed reading your beautifully put together words!
    So true what that man told you...but we do it from love!
    Your soup looks amazing, gorgeous photos and delicious recipe!

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  2. How true are those words that man shared with you - there is not much "glory" in the job of homemaker, but you are building your children up and nourishing them daily. This soup looks so comforting, I hope you are feeling better!

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    1. And I struggle to nourish them properly Laura! They are picky eaters so it's never easy. :-) Fortunately, our son liked this but it took a lot of effort with the other one.

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  3. Hi Rowena! I always something new when I visit here! Love your soup;-)

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  4. We're not "just" housewife. :) We're children's memory maker and family chef? :) Such a comforting soup with pasta in it! YUM!

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