Italian Chickpea Soup with Rosemary (vegan)

 Although I'm not much of a fan of "normal" Italian food (too heavy in white flour and cheese), "cucina povera" or 'poor cooking' is quite exquisite! Lots of veggies and many vegan dishes too.  Non vegans will like this soup as it is creamy (even without dairy), satisfying and beautiful.  I think I may serve this at Thanksgiving.

We had a version of this soup in Rome, but with chopped egg noodles, at Armando Al Pantheon.  It was quite good, so I found a cookbook with a recipe and tried it out. This looks way too simple, especially since there is no stock/broth added. But it is delicious! Especially when using home-cooked dried chickpeas (as opposed to canned chickpeas).  This made our "favorites" list on the first try!

NOTE: I soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, then slow cook on low with water until soft, 4-8 hours; drain and store in freezer bags in the freezer. Just as convenient at canned, but healthier (no BPA nor salt), cheaper (dried chickpeas are about 50 cents a pound?) and much tastier!

Saute in 3-4 TB olive oil in a large saute pan until onion starts to caramelize:
 1 large onion, finely diced 
 2-4 sprigs rosemary
generous pinch of salt 
2 cloves minced garlic 

Add 1/2 tea ground black pepper, 2 C cooked/frozen chickpeas (see note), stir to combine.

Add 2.5 C water, stir and cover. Bring to a simmer.

Scoop out approximately half of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the smooth puree back to the soup pot, stir and bring back up to heat.

Serve with optional grated Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of good olive oil.  Enjoy as is, or with toasted whole wheat bread.

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