Comfort food season isn’t quite over around here.
John has skied for the past three mornings. I put another blanket on my side of the bed. I relocated my slippers and even had the fireplace going one morning. April showers bring May flowers… but what about April snow?
I took advantage of the chilly weather to try a tasty new soup recipe. Giada called it Ceci Soup; ceci are chickpeas in Italian. As I gathered the ingredients, I enjoyed what was literally the calm before the storm rolled in.
The soup starts with what Italians call a soffrito: onion, carrots, celery, and a little garlic. I sautéed them in oil until they softened and added four chopped roma tomatoes.
Next, I added fresh herbs and spices. Lots of crushed red pepper (we like heat!), dried oregano, and whole sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary. (Mom, you could leave out the rosemary.)
While the tomatoes cooked down a little bit, I chopped fresh basil and parsley. Into the pot they went, along with one of my favorite flavor-makers in Italian recipes: a Parmesan rind. (I keep a bag of them in the freezer for soups and sauces.) I also added chicken broth and wine. Once the soup started to boil, I lowered the heat to a simmer and sampled the wine while snowflakes started to fall outside.
Forty-five minutes later, I fished out the thyme and rosemary sprigs and the Parmesan rind. I scooped about a cup of the soup into another pot and pureed it with a hand blender.
Before adding the puree back into the pot, I stirred half a cup of dry quinoa into the soup and let it get tender for 15 minutes or so. The puree went back into the soup, thickening it slightly, and it was time to taste it.
I served the soup with lots of fresh Parmesan cheese and chopped basil on top, with garlic toast on the side. It’s full of Italian flavors, thanks to the various herbs. The plump ceci add a creamy bite, and the quinoa is a healthy substitute for the traditional pasta in this soup. The recipe is a keeper, and the perfect meal for a late-season snowstorm.
And now John calls me his little chickpea.
Ceci Soup with Quinoa (recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like heat)
- Teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Parmesan rind
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup quinoa
- Grated parmesan and chopped basil for garnish
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sautee until the veggies start to soften. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, oregano, thyme and rosemary sprigs and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, parsley, Parmesan rind, chickpeas, wine, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove the herb sprigs and rind. Scoop about 1 cup of the soup into a food processor and puree (or use a hand blender). Add the quinoa to the soup pot and simmer until tender, 15 minutes or so. Add the puree back to the pot and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve with lots of Parmesan cheese and chopped basil on top, and remember that someday, it will stop snowing. Yum!
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