Hal & I REALLY enjoyed this soup. It was similar to a bean and bacon soup only not nearly as heavy tasting. Lots of flavour.
1-1/3 cup chickpeas or Garbanzo beans (dried), soaked in water overnight, then drained
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2-1/2 slices bacon, chopped
1 potato, peeled, whole
3 cups Swiss Chard or spinach, cut into 2-3 pieces
4 tsp olive oil
2-1/2 cups water to cook chickpeas
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water to cook the pasta
1/2 cup mezzi tubetti (pasta for soups)
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
Prepare the vegetables : coarsely chop the onion; peel the potatoes, leaving them whole; cut the Swiss chard into 2 or 3 pieces (if using spinach, leave them whole). Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bacon, then sauté 3-4 min, with occasional stirring. Add the chickpeas and potatoes, then cook 1-2 min with stirring. Pour in the water, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 45 min, until the chickpeas are softened, but al dente (if overcooked, the chickpeas do not fall apart as other legumes, but become "pasty"). If using a pressure cooker, the cooking time is reduced to 12-15 min.
Take the potatoes and about 2 ladles of chickpeas out of the pot and put them in a blender or in a food-mill. Purée the mixture, then put it back into the pot with the soup.
While the chickpeas are cooking, blanch the Swiss chard 4-5 min in a pot of salted boiling water. If using spinach, cook them 3-4 min without adding any water: the water trapped in the leaves after washing them is enough to cook the spinach. Drain the Swiss chard or spinach using a colander, press to remove excess water, then chop them and add them to the chickpea pot.
Cook an additional 2-3 min over medium-high heat, with occasional stirring: the chickpea soup is ready and may be set aside in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
When ready to serve, pour the soup into a saucepan or pot, add about ¼ cup (65 ml) of water per serving and bring to a boil. Add about 1½ tablespoons (10 g) of pasta per serving, cover, and cook about 6-7 min, over low heat. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
Makes 6 servings.