• 1 onion, chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
• 2 tins of chickpeas
• A few balls of frozen spinach
• 1l water
• 200g small pasta or broken-up spaghetti
• 3 vegetable stock cubes
• 1 pinch dried rosemary and/or thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• Olive oil
Comforting pasta with chickpeas soup
Many versions of pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) originate from different parts of Italy and they’re all delicious. My Italian husband introduced me to this soupier pasta e ceci and it’s my go-to comfort food, especially when I’m feeling unwell. Here, I use conchigliette (little shells), but any small pasta or broken-up spaghetti, linguine and tagliatelle work well too. I don’t insist on slavishly following recipes, so choose what suits you best or what you have in the cupboard. This recipe makes four servings.
Step 1 Add 1tbsp of olive oil and gently fry the onion for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for another 1-2 minutes.
Step 2 Add the water and frozen spinach and bring to the boil, then sprinkle in the stock cubes, a pinch of salt, herbs and bay leaf.
Step 3 Add the chickpeas and their water, bring to the boil again, then turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes or until the spinach has all melted.
Step 4 Add the pasta and simmer for 10 mins or until the pasta is cooked, then season to your taste and serve.
Tips If you have fresh rosemary or thyme, add a sprig and remove before serving. Ditaloni, stellini and aneli are other good pasta shapes to try with this dish. Add a teaspoon of chilli powder if you like it spicy or a squeeze of tomato puree for a bit of extra taste.
Money saving ideas Break up some value-range spaghetti, which is 20-30p in most of the main supermarkets. I use it in soups all the time. Place the lid on the pan when bringing to the boil and simmering. You can turn the heat much lower and save energy this way, which is better for the planet as well as keeping bills down.
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