Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Ultimate Soup Bible - Pasta and Chickpea Soup

Yesterday I decided I'd had enough sandwiches and tuna salad on crackers for lunch.  I wanted something easy to make and in a big enough portion it could last me for several meals.  My local library is in a new location, but with some rather old selections.  I checked out the few shelves of cookbooks (yes, you can check them out - and for many, many weeks!) and wasn't too inspired until I came upon The Ultimate Soup Bible.

This book is a stunner!  It has some of the most beautiful food photography I've seen in a long time.  The best part is those photos include a few prep steps so you know what your dish is supposed to look like as it's coming along.  There's a robust selection of recipes to choose from: chilled, light & refreshing, hot & spicy, one-pot meals and everything in between.  It covers a few food basics like certain types of ingredients and cleaning methods, as well as the occasional tip.

I flipped through the heartier soups so it could stand alone as a meal and decided to go with the Pasta and Chickpea Soup.  The photo reminded me a bit of a Tunisian stew I absolutely love so I had high hopes for this soup.  The one drawback I've found so far is the ingredient list for this recipe.  This is partly my fault for not looking up cannellini beans and partly the book for choosing what I would consider as an obscure ingredient.  I expected it to be in the canned bean section with the chickpeas (Garbanzo), but ended up confused and frustrated.  Recalling the photo, I went with a substitute - the large butter bean - and went on with it.  Update: it is a white navy bean also known as a pea bean or haricot.  I don't recall seeing it in the store, but I'll check it out next time I'm there.  I was also confused by the bottled strained tomatoes and ended up with canned diced tomatoes.  The extra touch of grated Parmesan cheese swayed me back into a positive mood though.

This is really an easy recipe to follow, as most of them appear to be.  I made this up after dinner so I only tasted it reheated today, but it was still a fantastic soup.  I love pasta and this is a great way to sneak in more vegetables for myself.  Even though I didn't chop the veggies as small as they probably should have been, they were still tender without being mushy.  Chickpeas are a great source of protein and make up for a lack of meat.  Overall, this is a great dish and easy on the wallet.  I would highly recommend the recipe and the book.

Above photos are my attempt: the pile of veggies, tossing in rosemary, and the final product.


  1. Wow! This really does look great! Thanks so much for stopping by and entering the Swanson's Challenge.

  2. Wow! This looks super yummy :)

    You made me laugh with the cute kid comment :) At first, I thought I forgot to provide a link to one of the sites...I'm pretty slow :)


  3. It sounds yummy! And I can completely understand reaching your limit sandwiches for lunch. I think we're hitting that point now too!