Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pasta e Ceci

This is from the book Savoring Tuscany by Lori de Mori. My comments are in italics.

1 cup (7 oz/220 g) dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - or 1 can (NOT drained)
3 cloves garlic, 1 crushed, 2 minced or all minced
leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 fresh sage leaves
1 small dried chile (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling - drizzling oil is optional
2 cups (12 oz/375 g) crushed or diced canned plum (Roma) tomatoes with juice - can be regular tomatoes
4 cups (32 fl oz/1 l) meat or vegetable broth - broth made with bouillon cubes/powder is fine
1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 oz/140 g or more) ditali or other short tube pasta
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

If using canned chickpeas, skip first step.

- Pick over the checkpeas, discarding any grit or misshapen beans. Rinse well, place in a bowl, and add water to cover generously. Let soak overnight. Drain the beans and place in a large saucepan with the crushed garlic and water to cover generously. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours.

- On a work surface, combine the minced garlic, rosemary, sage, and chile and finely mince. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm together the olive oil and garlic-herb mixture and saute, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth, reduce the heat to low, cover, cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the pasta, stir well, and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the beans to a food mill fitted with the medium disk and puree directly into the pot, adding cooking liquid as needed to facilitate the pureeing (this step is optional. You can just add them all whole.). Add 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of the cooking liquid (you can use the liquid from the can and maybe some extra water) and the remaining whole beans. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

- Ladle into warmed individual bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Pass the Parmesan cheese at the table.

Serves 6-8 (about 4, if you don't have another course)

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