Chickpea Soup with Pancetta


by: Allicia

Chickpeas belong to the same legume family as beans and have been a favorite with Italians since Roman times. Their botanical name is Cicer arietinum, arietinum means ram-like, and if you look at a chickpea, it really looks like a perfect little ram’s head. They are grown mostly in the south, left to dry in the sun in their pods, then harvested at the right moment. Look for chickpeas that are creamy in texture, with a delicate thin, shiny, unwrinkled skin, and always soak them overnight, especially if they are a little old and dry, they can take a very long time to soften during cooking. If you like, you can cook some tortellini separately (or tagliatelle cut into short strips after cooking) and add it to the soup just before serving — or you could even add some squid, quickly fried in a little garlic and oil, sprinkled with parsley.


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serves: 4

1 carrot (finely chopped)

1 onion (finely chopped)

1 red onion (finely chopped)

1 stalk celery (finely chopped)

5-6 ounces pancetta (cut into strips)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

leaves rosemary and sage to garnish

salt and pepper

For the chickpeas:

1 1/4 cups chickpeas

1 stalk celery

4 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 sprig of rosemary

small bunch of sage

2 leaves bay

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive

oil, plus extra for sautéing and finishing

Nutrition Facts
Chickpea Soup with Pancetta

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 474

  • Total Fat: 23.8 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 6.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 24.1 mg
  • Sodium: 382.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 50 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 14.7 g
  •     Sugars: 10.9 g
  • Protein: 18 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Soak the chickpeas in at least double their volume of cold water, and leave overnight.

2.  Drain the chickpeas and put them in a large pan with the celery and garlic. Add the herbs tied together in a bouquet garni, the extra virgin olive oil and double the quantity of water as that cf the chickpeas. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, adding more water if necessary. Take off the heat and set aside.

3.  Heat a little more extra virgin olive oil in a small pan and add the carrot, both onions, the celery and half the pancetta. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until soft but not colored, then add the tomato paste and three—quarters of the cooked chickpeas (keep the rest on one side). Cook for another 10 minutes.

4.  Put into a food processor and process until smooth. Put book on the boot and add a little of the liquid from cooking the chickpeas (make it up with water if necessary) to bring it to a soupy consistency. Bring back to a boil end add the chickpeas you have kept to one side.

5.  Just before serving, boat a small dry frying pan and gently cook the remaining pancetta until golden (or crispy, if you like). Drain on paper towels.

6.  Season the soup and serve drizzled with some more extra virgin olive oil. Finish by adding chopped rosemary and sage leaves, freshly ground black pepper, and a tablespoon or so of pancetta to each bowl.

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