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Souper February

Have I told you about my food manifesto? I’m sure I mentioned it in the early days of the blog, back in ’04 or ’05, but since the archives are down, you’re just going to have to take my word on it.

Anyway, a central tenet of my whole food world lies in the idea that soup is pretty much the perfect food. It has, truly, endless variations. You can get a wide variety of foods in a one-dish, single serving. You can make enough to eat all week AND freeze for later. It can be as fancy and impressive, or as quick and easy as you’d like.

I love soup.

Then Kellee (it is always Kellee, yes? My most favorite enabler and ringleader.) was all, oh my god, my friend started this thing called Souper February. We’re going to make a different soup every day during February and post it to Flickr. You should totally do it. It will be AWESOME. (Or something like that. It was in email form, and Kellee does not speak or type Valley High School.)

And I was like, um, Soup? Awesome. Every day? Um, that’s, like crazy. (See above disclaimer, except apply it to me.)

But, I love the spirit of the challenge and have decided to try for 2 soups a week. I am already behind, but my first soup of February was a little ditty from Jamie’s Italy. (Oh Jamie Oliver, sigh. I love your veggie garden and ragamuffin way of tossing together ridiculously delicious-looking food.)

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
From: Jamie’s Italy


1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
spring of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 – 14oz cans chickpeas
2.5 C chicken stock
3.5 oz ditalini (I used elbows)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil or parsley for garnish (optional) (I used basil)

Cook onion, celery, garlic and rosemary with splash of olive oil as gently as possible in covered saucepan for 15 – 20 minutes until veggies have lost all color.

Add chickpeas to pot, and cover with stock. Cook gently for 30 minutes, then remove 1/2 chickpeas with slotted spoon and reserve in another bowl. Using immersion blender, blend remaining contents of pot until smooth. Add reserved chickpeas and pasta, season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently until chickpeas are tender and pasta is cooked.

If soup is too thick, thin with water, and season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: Don’t try to get smart or cute, and decide to thin the soup with additional chicken stock, like I did. Jamie knows what he’s talking about. I used a total of 4 C of chicken stock, and the soup was too rich and salty. Water would have cut it beautifully, and let the natural flavors of the chickpeas, herbs and veggies shine.