Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quick Tomato and Chick Pea Soup with Ditalini

This is the last of my tomato posts, promise.  But I've got something good here and I just had to share it.  I was craving soup for no good reason (it's really still too warm for soup), spied the still too large pile of tomatoes on my counter and decided to make tomato soup.  But not thick, heavy soup.  Something light enough for the still-summery afternoon but hearty enough for a filling lunch.  So I dove into my Italian roots and pulled out this soup.  Not that my grandmother ever made anything exactly like this, but I imagine she would on a day like today with the ingredients I had.

It's not a very photogenic soup, so you just get the one picture (maybe two if you read all the way to the end), but I promise you- the taste more than makes up for it.

Quick Tomato and Chick Pea Soup with Ditalini
Makes 3 or 4 servings depending on how hungry you are!  This is a very loose recipe.  I just sort of estimated the ingredients and liked the way it turned out.  Feel free to do the same.

3 or 4 large tomatoes (or 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes if you don't have ripe, in-season tomatoes)
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (1/2 can) drained and rinsed chick peas
1/4 cup ditalini or other short pasta
1 tsp salt
1 sprig rosemary
handful grated peorino romano cheese

If using fresh tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds.  Toss the seeded tomato halves into a blender and puree until smooth.  If using canned tomatoes, puree the can of tomatoes with their juices.  Set aside.

In a 4 quart sauce pot, heat 2 tbs olive oil.  When warm, add the onions and saute them until they are tender (about 8 minutes).  Add the garlic (either finely chop or grate into the pot with a coarse grater like a Microplane).  Stir for 30 seconds.

Pour in the pureed tomatoes, chicken broth, chick peas and ditalini.  Add the whole sprig of rosemary to the pot.  This last step is entirely up to you.  I don't care to eat rosemary, but I wanted a bit of it's flavor so I left it whole and then removed it at the end.  If you want a more pronounced flavor you can tear the leaves from the stem and add them to the pot.

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.  Remove the rosemary stem if desired.  Stir in the salt and cheese.  Serve warm with lots of good bread for dunking.

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