Pasta and Ceci – Pasta and Chickpeas Soup

As Los Angeles finally gets some long-awaited rain and fall weather, I find myself longing for some comforting warm soup. Pasta e Ceci is the simplest and quickest to prepare soup you can imagine, still so delicious and nutritious. That is, if you don’t consider the chickpeas soaking time.

Always keep some dry chickpeas in your pantry: they stay good for months if not years, so it really is one of the basic staples of every pantry, as most kinds of dry legumes.

The magic of chickpeas is that they are cheap, always readily available, and packed with proteins, as well as vitamins, minerals and fibers: which explains why you will feel full after eating a bowl of this soup. But there is one important amino acid missing in chickpeas: methionine, which plays a role in metabolism and detoxification. And here goes the geniality of our ancestors, who without having all this essential information at hand, probably by intuition, paired the chickpeas with pasta, which has some of it. Or maybe it was just the discovery that the combined taste of those two ingredients made up for a wonderful soup?

In any case I have always been a big fan of this dish. It is vegetarian, and becomes vegan if you do not add any parmigiano cheese. Or you can also make it with chicken broth for the ultimate winter comfort dish.

There are, as always, many different versions of the same recipe. For example, feel free to choose the shape of short pasta that you like, or that you have at hand; in my family there was no doubt that it had to be broken spaghetti, maybe because it was the way to entertain the children while waiting for the chickpeas to cook.

Sometimes a couple of spoons of tomato sauce are added. I prefer the simple version. An upgrade that some enjoy is to use a vegetable broth prepared beforehand with onion, carrot, celery: this benefits the results. But for the rest it must stay the simple 5 ingredients soup that it is easy and fast to make for a weekday dinner.


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For 4 Servings

1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)