Friday, February 25, 2011

Pasta e Ceci Soup

We have finally got some cold weather here in Southern California and I have been loving it!  Granted my cold is 55 degrees with a slight drizzle but my thin blood is freezing!  It has been a perfect opportunity to whip up some hardy soups that warm you up.  

I found this recipe in a search to try and find more meatless dishes to incorporate at least once a week.  This is largely in part to Oprah and her recent show on the Vegan Challenge that she and her staff were a part of.  While I will never become a vegetarian or vegan - I love my yogurt and steaks too much - it made me think about my eating habits, and I am trying to incorporate meatless lunches into my work week and at least one meatless dinner into my week.  The hubby is trying to gain weight/bulk with this workouts (must be nice) and so I need to make sure that these meatless meals have a lot of protein.  Not only do the chickpeas in this soup have a lot of muscle building protein (one cup has 14.5 grams) but they are full of heart-healthy folate, fiber and iron which makes this a healthy addition to my meatless recipes. The best part is that I had all of these ingredients in my pantry already and so this made for a very inexpensive main course!

I pureed the soup with an immersion blender but left some chunks of chickpeas and carrots intact so that it wasn't like baby-food.  The pastas gave the soup wonderful texture and I sprinkled with a little bit of mozzarella cheese to add richness. 

I paired this with some cheesy crostini's and it was a hardy meal that we both enjoyed!

Pasta e Ceci Soup
Recipe from Family Bites 

2 tablespoons oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon dried sage
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup ditalini

Over low heat, warm oil.  Add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic.  Saute until the become soft.  Deglaze with white wine, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add chickpeas, salt, sage, tomato paste and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in your blender.  If using your blender be careful as always with hot liquid. If you soup is too thick you can add some additional chicken stock.  Return to heat and add pasta.  Cook until pasta is al dente - 5 - 8 minutes.

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.


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