I told you so many times how I greeted reluctantly the past summer. I was in love with its free and playful mood, I thought I could not find equal emotions in the following months. Oh, and the summer sunsets – and a special one in particular, on an empty beach in Maremma – stole my heart, I strongly believed there could not exist something more poetic and fiery.
Then Autumn came silently, the first fall season I’m living in my new house. I am working in my kitchen every day, running from the stove to my laptop. Once in a while I raise my eyes and look out the window. There I saw something I was not expecting, golden orange sunsets. They came unexpected, hidden by menacing clouds. These clouds make you think that yet another day has passed without surprises, then all of a sudden they clear up and the sunset lights up the sky, paints the landscape with golden, bright orange, pink and vermillion.
Time for a pause. I suspend every activity I’m dealing with at the moment, put on the kettle to make a tea and enjoy the sunset for a few minutes, entranced by the calmness that slows down the countryside rhythms. Autumn sunsets soothe your spirit and warm up your body just like a soup, one of those soups that mutter for few hours on the stove, permeating the house of a comforting smell.
Chop all your vegetables, fill up a generous pot and leave your soup to simmer on the lowest flame. Check it once in a while just for the pleasure of stirring it with a wooden spoon, and in the meantime keep going, answering e-mails, taking pictures of another recipe or chatting with your friends.
It is a filling and cheap soup, an Autumn main dish with a special fresh pasta to give an unexpected twist. Chickpeas are simmered slowly for three hours with a generous battuto. Do you remember? battuto is the starting point of many Italian dishes that require a long cooking. Mince carrot, celery and onion and you have the basic battuto. This will add flavour and texture to your soup. Leave the soup simmering and make maltagliati. Maltagliati is probably the easiest fresh pasta to make. It literally means badly cut, because you just have to cut your sheet of pasta into lozenges: don’t worry, you don’t have to be precise, just cut.
In my family chickpeas are traditionally paired to rosemary, as beans are paired to sage. Please do not make a mistake, or you’ll have to deal with mum. In these soup rosemary is added to fresh pasta, to avoid rosemary needles to float into the soup. Add semolina flour and rosemary needles in a food processor and blend until you have a naturally flavoured flour. Obviously you can do the same with sage, but do not tell mum!
Final touch are Parmesan rind cubes. Don’t tell me you throw them away? Seriously? it’s my favourite part, I’ve been collecting rinds for months during the cooking classes just to have a good supply of rind cubes for my winter soups. Add them for the last 30 minutes of simmering: they get soft, chewy, flavouring your soup with the tasty Parmigiano aroma. Mind, there will be a spoon fight to conquer the last cheesy cube.
Without more delay, here’s the chickpea soup with rosemary maltagliati, warm as an Autumn sunset.
Chickpea soup with rosemary maltagliati
- Ingredients to make a delicious soup:
- 350 g dried chickpeas
- 2 carrots
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 red onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 handful of diced Parmigiano rinds
- Black peppercorns
Ingredients to make rosemary maltagliati:
- 100 g of durum wheat semolina
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 egg
- The day before, soak the chickpeas in cold water with a pinch of baking soda.
- The next day, rinse the chickpeas under running water and set them aside. Make battuto: mince carrots, celery and onion.
- Pour some extra virgin olive oil in a large pot, scrape in the battuto and saute on low heat for about 5 minutes, then pour in the drained chickpeas and stir. Cover the chickpeas with warm water and add a good pinch of salt.
- Cook the chickpeas on the lowest flame for about two and a half hours, stirring occasionally and adding more warm water if necessary. You don't want the soup to bee too dry.
- Meanwhile make maltagliati. Blend the semolina flour with the rosemary needles until you get a smooth and green flour.
- minutes before chickpeas are ready throw in the Parmigiano rind cubes and taste to see if more salt is needed.
- Shortly before the soup is ready add maltagliati and let them cook a minute or two, no more.
- Remove the soup from the heat, scoop into four bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper .