A simple, rustic chickpea puree with pasta made flavorful with anchovies, garlic, and rosemary.
Pasta and chickpeas puree is a typical dish from Lucca, belonging to the same category of farming cooking as recipes such as the onion soup.
When I was little I did not love this dish, it seemed tasteless, devoid of personality and especially monotonous, like many soups. Then one day a friend of my father, chef and owner of a famous restaurant in Maremma, made me taste this dish and finally, for the first time I appreciated it. It seemed immediately flavorful, so that I finished the whole plate, under my father’s surprised eyes.
The trick there was anchovy fillets!
Here in Tuscany, the kind of pasta to use with chickpeas puree is the “Tagliolini”, but actually there are many varieties suitable for this dish: capelli d’angelo, ditalini, gramigna…
Since chickpeas are the protagonist, one can say that this dish may be enjoyed in any season.
When I make this dish, I immediately think of our small house on the mountains and of the winter in general, aspects that represent for me the search for new recipes for our private dinners, and new dishes to be included in our cookery courses.
- Do not skip the fresh rosemary sprig
- Choose a pasta with a cooking time no longer than 4 minutes, otherwise you risk compromising the right texture of the puree.
- If using dried chickpeas: soak them in cold water with a teaspoon of baking soda for a whole night. Throw away the soaking water and boil them in salted water for about 40 minutes (20 minutes with the pressure cooker). Use their liquid to prepare the chickpeas puree
- If using canned chickpeas, throw away the liquid in which they are immersed and use only the vegetable broth
- If you do not like a strong garlic flavor, remove it before using the immersion blender
- 3 cups boiled and drained chickpeas (liquid reserved)
- ½ cup extra virgin oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 anchovy fillets
- to taste salt
- to taste black pepper
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp parmesan cheese (optional)
- Over medium heat, pour 4 tbsp extra virgin oil in a pot with the garlic cloves cut in half; add the rosemary sprig and the anchovy fillets. Wait until anchovy melt, stirring well with a wooden spoon.
- Add drained chickpeas continuing stirring until they take all the flavors of the sauce with anchovy, rosemary and garlic
- add their liquid and 1 cup hot veggie broth and let them simmer for about 10 minutes
- remove the rosemary sprig and blend the chickpeas directly in the pot with an immersion blender (or transfer them to processor)
- taste and add salt if needed
- add tomato paste and stir to mix and to have a nice hot color light orange
- bring to boil and add other broth if the cream is too thick; you need to have the texture of yogurt if you add "capelli d'angelo" pasta (3 minutes cooking) and that one of a soup if you use a pasta which requires a longer cooking.
- Pour the pasta in the soup
- as it boils again (crumble capelli d'angelo by clenching them in the fist)
- continue stirring medium-low heat and be careful it doesn't stick
- finally you have to obtain a soft puree, a cream
- add salt if you need and turn off the heat when pasta is cooked
- pour in soup bowls very hot
- add a grinding of black pepper,
- tbsp of parmesan cheese (optional)
- and 1 tbsp of extra virgin oil (top down) over each bowl
- bring immediately to the table