We live on top of a ridge. The night, which now descends in the afternoon, fills the valley with blackness. The winds spring up, the loud turbulence filling the black void with a sea of sound. Below and around us, a black restless sea. The house bones creak as it braces itself for a rough night. It isn’t an old house but it likes to complain. The TV commentaries sound hollow, it’s all bad news anyway, and the white wine tastes too thin. On nights like this, I can barely hear myself cook.
Minestra di Ceci e Zucca
Chickpea and Pumpkin soup. A meal in a bowl. For 4
- 2 Tablespoons EV olive oil
- one onion, finely sliced
- two cloves garlic, finely chopped
- one stick celery, finely chopped
- sea salt, ground
- rosemary branch, around 10 cm long, stripped and finely chopped
- 2 cups small diced pumpkin, such as Kent or Butternut
- 2 cup cooked chickpeas and some of the cooking liquid
- home-made vegetable stock ( or chicken if you prefer)
- a drizzle of good oil to serve
I always start with a little soffrito. Heat the olive oil and gently cook the onion slices until very soft but not brown, then add the garlic, rosemary a few grindings of salt, and the celery. Continue cooking until soft, then add the diced pumpkin, stir about, then the cooked chick peas. Cover with stock and a little of the chick pea water. (if you have used canned chickpeas, rinse well and discard the canning liquid as it tastes quite foul, I’m not sure why).
Cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Add a small handful of broken pasta if you wish. I used left over broken pizzocheri or buckwheat pasta. Raise the heat towards the end of cooking. As the pumpkin has been diced, most of it will disintegrate and thicken the soup.
As this is a sweet soup, add more salt at table to counteract this. Dress with a drizzle of good oil. A very sustaining one bowl meal for a dark windy night.