CLASSIC pasta chick-pea soup with pancetta and porcini








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This is another simple-to-prepare and wonderful taste treat, courtesy of Marcella Hazan. It is adapted from "Marcella's Italian Kitchen" (see library). With the porcini it is a perfect fall appetizer.

Chick-peas have been a cooking staple for thousands of years, and appear to great advantage in soups. You can use dried chick-peas in any of the recipes, but canned ones are very good and save a lot of soaking and cooking.


  • one ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • one nineteen-ounce can chick-peas
  • three cups hot water
  • three tablespoons olive oil
  • two ounces of pancetta, cut into very thin strips
  • two cups chopped onion
  • one-half cup chopped carrot, finely chopped
  • one-half cup celery, finely chopped
  • two tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • three cups very good beef broth
  • one cup freshly ground parmesan cheese

Soak the dried porcini in the hot water for twenty minutes. Remove them, squeeze the moisture out, and roughly chop them. Reserve the mushroom liquid!

Put the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and onion. After about three minutes, when the onion becomes soft and a light gold color, add the carrots and celery.

Cook carefully: until the vegetables are starting to brown but while they remain tender. Do not overcook them. Dissolve the tomato paste into the mushroom liquid, stirring well, and then add this mixture to the pot.

Continue cooking until that liquid has boiled away.

Drain the chick-peas. Add them to the pot. Cook for about ten minutes. Add a half teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Stir.

Add the broth and simmer for several minutes, until hot. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve, with a sprig of parsley on top and the parmesan on the side.



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