Chickpea and Pasta Soup

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 2 teaspoons fresh

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 cups beef stock

½ cup quadretti

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large, deep soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until browned. Discard. Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the tomatoes have reduced, about 15 minutes. Add the chickpeas and salt and pepper and heat through. Pour in the stock, cover, and cook another 15 minutes. With a strainer or slotted spoon, remove about ½ cup of the chickpeas. Mash them with a fork or purée them in a blender; and return to the soup.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring at least 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add the quadretti, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain, stir into soup, and heat through. Remove soup from heat, stir in Parmesan, and serve in warmed soup bowls.

Chicken Soup The Real Thing

It is probably ironic that most of us who crave homemade chicken soup reach for a can of stock to make our own “homemade” soups. Today, the quality of canned stock is excellent, but let us not fool ourselves—canned is also quicker and that counts. But in the interest of integrity in the kitchen, here is a recipe for real chicken stock, beginning as it must, not with a can opener, but with a chicken.

1 chicken, about 4 pounds

3 quarts water

1 large onion, cut into quarters

5 stalks of celery, with leaves, cut in half

3 large carrots, cut in half

2 parsnips, cut in half

1 bay leaf

6 sprigs parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Rinse the chicken, cut into quarters, and trim off as much fat as possible. Place in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming off the residue as it rises. Add the onion, celery, carrots, parsnips, bay leaf, and parsley. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 2 hours. Using a large slotted spoon or tongs, remove the chicken and vegetables. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 8 cups stock.

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