A strange side affect of not having a car is this: I don't buy groceries. Or I only buy them in really small quantities. I realize people who live in big cities are probably scoffing at this thought, but Columbus is a city seemingly designed by and for car-lovers. I seem to remember reading a few years ago that the cars per capita in Central Ohio is more than one car per person. (I probably just made that up, because I couldn't find anything on Google to support it, but nonetheless.) I don't really enjoy grocery shopping. I like to hit the farmer's markets, of course, and then Costco or Target to buy things in bulk. I like to buy 150 pounds of cat litter at a time. It hasn't yet occurred to me how I might get 150 pounds of cat litter home without a vehicle. At this week's Farmer's market, I found myself zooming through in a panic to be sure I didn't miss the bus back home (only runs every 50 minutes on Saturdays, and I was on a deadline); I also had to measure everything for weight for reason specified above. I'm not sure if I can walk with a 24 inch wide Tuscan pumpkin.
This has us eating out a lot, and has me peeking in my pantry more than I'm used to, to see what I might dig out instead of walking 2 miles to my nearest grocery. (UDF does not count)
This soup is rich and satisfying without being too filling. It's the perfect thing for the Autumny summer we're having right now (it's going to be almost 90 later in the week). I was inspired to make this after seeing a picture of something similar months ago, and it's been in the back of my head ever since. This would be the perfect time to get out the homemade chicken stock, as these simple ingredients need to be the best. If you don't want to make your own, buy some from a reputable purveyor: in Columbus, North Market Poultry and Game has a great chicken stock. I used a combination of chicken and Parmesan stock, but you don't have to. I happened to have some parm stock in the freezer.
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpea Soup with Tomatoes and Sage) - serves 2
6 ounces papperdelle, cooked 1 minute less than directed on package
1 clove garlic, crushed through press
4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped very finely
1 14 can of whole tomatoes (I'm particularly fond of the fire-roasted variety), tomatoes squeeze and chopped into a large dice
1 19 ounce can chick peas
3 cups good quality chicken stock
1 cup Parmesan stock
10 sage leaves, slivered
freshly cracked black pepper
good quality extra virgin olive oil
I realize some of you will scoff at me for this, but here's the thing. I was reading Marcella Hazan a few months ago, and she instructed peeling the chick peas. Now I have to peel them. I just squeeze them out of their skins. Of course, you don't have to take this time-consuming task. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium low heat and add the garlic; sprinkle with a little salt and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to soften. Add the dried and canned tomatoes, the chick peas, and then add the stocks. Bring to a boil and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the sage. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary, then add the cooked papperdelle to the mixture and cook for another minute or two. Using tongs, place half of the noodles in a bowl and ladle over the stock and chick peas. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over, then grate some Parmesan over just before serving.