The Italian «Minestrone di ceci e pasta» is a thick soup of chickpeas, Swiss chard, and short cut pasta.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, is the most widely consumed legume in the world. Originating in the Middle East, they have a firm texture with a nutty flavour. They are rich in proteins, fibre, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and vitamins.
Before you start
The chickpeas must be soaked in water overnight. A pressure cooker will reduce the chickpeas cooking time from 45 min to about 12 min. A blender or food processor will be very useful to purée the chickpeas.
- Prepare the vegetables : coarsely chop the onion; peel the potatoes, leaving them whole; cut the Swiss chard into 2 or 3 pieces (if using spinach, leave them whole). Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 min, with occasional stirring, until it becomes translucent. Add the chickpeas and potatoes, then cook 1-2 min with stirring. Pour in the water, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 45 min, until the chickpeas are softened, but al dente (if overcooked, the chickpeas do not fall apart as other legumes, but become "pasty"). If using a pressure cooker, the cooking time is reduced to 12-15 min.
- Take the potatoes and about 2 ladles of chickpeas out of the pot and put them in a blender or in a food-mill. Purée the mixture, then put it back into the pot with the soup.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, blanch the Swiss chard 4-5 min in a pot of salted boiling water. If using spinach, cook them 3-4 min without adding any water: the water trapped in the leaves after washing them is enough to cook the spinach. Drain the Swiss chard or spinach using a colander, press to remove excess water, then chop them and add them to the chickpea pot.
- Cook an additional 2-3 min over medium-high heat, with occasional stirring: the chickpea soup is ready and may be set aside in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
- When ready to serve, pour the soup into a saucepan or pot, add about ¼ cup (65 ml) of water per serving and bring to a boil. Add about 1½ tablespoons (10 g) of pasta per serving, cover, and cook about 6-7 min, over low heat. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
This soup will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer. If freezing, don't include the pasta but instead add it when serving.
Nutrition Facts Table
per 1 serving (360g)
% Daily Value
Servings of Canada's Food Guide1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to :
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|Grain Products :||¼||serving|
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ClaimsThis recipe is :
- Excellent source of :
- Folacin, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K
- Good source of :
- Copper, Fibre, Phosphorus, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Zinc
- Source of :
- Calcium, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Selenium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin E
- Low :
- Calories, Cholesterol, Fat, Saturated Fat, Sodium
- Free :
- Added Sugar, Trans Fat
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