Chickpea and Tomato Soup
Based upon a recipe by Marcella Hazan.
- Servings: 4.
Winter soups are both appealing and satisfying but all too often they seem to take a big commitment of time to make. But this soup, based upon one in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, comes together in less than an hour and tastes like you've been at the stove all day.
Use canned chickpeas and good canned tomatoes to add flavor without adding time. If you have homemade chicken stock the soup will, of course, taste better, but good boxed stock will work almost as well. If you prefer to use dried chickpeas, soak and cook them a day or two in advance, storing them in their cooking liquid until you're ready to use.
Instead of using crushed tomatoes, I prefer whole tomatoes that I crush with my (clean) hands into small-ish pieces. I prefer to control the size of the pieces and also think that whole tomatoes are better than those that canners use in crushed or puréed form.
This recipe can be easily doubled and it also freezes well. If you like, you can separately cook small pasta, such as tiny shells or ditalini, and add them to the finished soup. I also like to serve the hot soup with a dusting of grated Parmesan.
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Pinch dried red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed by hand or cut into pieces, with their juice
- 3 cups canned chickpeas (2 15 oz. cans), drained and rinsed; if you prefer to use dried chickpeas, use 1 cup dried chickpeas soaked and cooked as directed below
- 2 cups good chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- Optional: Grated Parmesan cheese to add when soup is served.
- Place the olive oil and garlic cloves into a soup pot placed over medium heat. Cook the garlic cloves until they become golden brown and begin to soften. Remove from the olive oil but hold 2 of them aside and do not discard.
- Keeping the pot over a medium heat, add the rosemary sprig and pinch of red pepper flakes to the oil and stir.
- Add the crushed tomatoes with their juice, lower the heat to medium low, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil floats up over the tomatoes.
- Take one or two of the reserved cooked garlic cloves and with the side of a knife, mash them into a paste. Add this to the pot.
- Add the drained chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes, stirring several times so to combine everything together.
- Add the chicken stock, cover, and lower the heat so that it simmers with steady but small bubbles -- you're not boiling the soup but it should be a robust simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Using the back of a large spoon, crush about 1/3 of the chickpeas, leaving the rest whole. Stir to combine.
- Add the salt and several grinds of black pepper.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve immediately. This soup is wonderful with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.
Using Dried Chickpeas
Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and add water to cover plus three inches. Let sit unrefrigerated overnight. After soaking, drain the chickpeas, rinse in cool water, and place them in a pot that is large enough to hold the peas plus water to cover by at least three inches. Place the pot over medium high heat, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook at a steady simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store the chickpeas in their cooking liquid until you're ready to use and at that point, drain them.