For your next dinner and a movie night whip up a batch of this traditional Roman soup and rent “I Soliti Ignoti” (English title “Big Deal on Madonna Street”). It’s an classic Italian caper movie that features a group of hapless thieves who, after a disastrous attempt to break into a pawn shop, sit down to a bowl of Pasta e Ceci. Good Italians that they are, they immediately began discussing the merits and faults of the soup. Both the soup and the movie are favorites of mine.
Pasta e Ceci (chickpea and pasta soup)
1/2 lb dry chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green part only, chopped (or 1 small onion)
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes, preferably Pomì
1 cup small tubular pasta such as ditalini
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
freshly grated parmesan cheese
You will need two pots that fit side by side in the Sun Oven
Set Global Sun Oven out to pre heat.
Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain, put chickpeas in a dark pot with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Put olive oil, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and tomatoes in another dark pot. Place both pots, side by side, in the Sun Oven. When chickpeas are cooked remove both pots from solar oven. Set aside 1 cup chickpeas. Combine the remaining chickpeas with the other ingredients in a large pot and blend with a emersion blender. If soup is too thick add some water. Stir in the reserved chickpeas, salt and pepper to taste and if at this point there is still enough sunshine you can add the pasta and put the soup back in the Sun Oven. Just before serving stir in the rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Serve with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. If it’s too late to cook the pasta in the solar oven complete the soup on the stovetop. Do not cook the pasta until you are ready to eat or it will get mushy. Serves 4 to 6.