Fall was certainly in the air yesterday! But what a beautiful crisp fall day…shining sun, leaves just starting to turn golden and red, that crisp fall air. After working in the garden for most of the afternoon, it was time to think about dinner. And given the nip in the air, soup seemed like the perfect thing. After peering into the pantry, the chickpeas caught my eye – hmmmm, a chickpea soup perhaps? with a side of sautéed shrimp? Perfect. And then it hit me – I actually was craving chickpeas! Me?? Who has spent most of my life disliking the little beasts? If you have been following my posts, you might remember that I have made a serious attempt to make friends with my ceci friends over the past year. And sure enough – mission accomplished! Mom would be so proud! This soup is from humble beginnings yet the pancetta, onion, and chickpeas create a wonderfully rich flavor. Feel free to omit the shrimp and just serve with nice crusty bread and a crisp insalata verde. Enjoy!
Passato di Ceci con Gamberi: Chickpea Soup with Shrimp
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
3 (15.5 ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 cups of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
Fresh rosemary sprig
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the shrimp:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound medium sized shrimp, shelled and cleaned with tails left on
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
1. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, about 6 or 7 minutes.
2. Add the diced onion and garlic. Cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add in the chicken stock, bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Stir to combine. Cook until the chickpeas are soft – about 20 minutes.
3. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Discard. Using a stick blender or regular blender, puree the soup until it is smooth – be careful working with the hot liquid! Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. For the shrimp – heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp and sauté until cooked through – about 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle the garlic over the shrimp and sauté for another minute until garlic is fragrant. Season with salt and a pinch of red pepper.
5. To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each with a few shrimp and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top. Serve!
6. Buon appetito!