Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chick Pea and Pasta Soup

When the leaves start to fall (or a freak October ice storm hits), I love a steaming bowl of soup. Hearty homemade soup is the ultimate comfort food, IMO. If you're stressed (say you have a new dog in the house), or cold, or just need a little warm comfort, make yourself a big pot of homemade soup.

My favorite soups contain lots of vegetables, often some beans, a little protein, a little starch (pasta or rice), often a Parmesan rind, and a good-quality broth. I know I should make my own stock and freeze it in quart containers. I've done that. Then we lost power. Twice in two months. So I keep some boxes of my favorite brands around.

The great thing about my favorite soups is that they taste even better the next day, and they freeze well, too. So the effort you put into the pot will reward you for days to come (unless of course you lose electricity for days because of an ice storm, hurricane, tropical storm or other weather event).

Chick Pea and Pasta Soup
Makes about 10 cups

1/4 pound prosciutto -- diced (you can buy it already diced at Wegmans!)
1/2 cup red onion -- diced
2 medium carrots -- cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 stalks celery -- diced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary -- chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 14.5 oz. cans petite-diced tomato
2 15 oz. cans chick peas(garbanzos) -- rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 Parmesan cheese rind
handful linguine -- broken into 1 1/2 inch pieces
dash Penzey's Northwoods seasoning

Saute prosciutto, onion, carrots, celery and rosemary in olive oil in soup pot until beginning to soften, about 10 min.

Add tomatoes and their juice, chick peas, broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and rind. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 min. or until vegetables are tender. Add pasta during last 8 minutes of cooking time. Season with a dash of Northwoods seasoning. Serve with additional grated Parmesan if desired.

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