When we had that little cold, wet, dreary spell early in January, Kerry started making this delicious meal in a bowl soup. And even though the weather has warmed up, we are still eating it weekly! Ceci is Italian for chickpeas and they featured in many Italian soups. Here's a link to one I did a few years back too, Pasta e Ceci.
Kale and Ceci Soup
• Olive oil
• 3 to 4 strips of bacon
• 1 lb of Italian sausage
• 2 cups finely diced yellow onions
• 1 cup finely diced celery
• 1 cup finely diced carrots
• 4 cloves garlic, sliced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 2 (14-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed well
• 2 quarts chicken or veg stock, plus extra water if needed
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• 3 sprigs thyme
• 1 sprig oregano
• Red chili flakes to taste
• 4 cups greens (lightly packed), stems removed and cut into bite size pieces (Lacinta kale, dino kale, Russian kale, beet greens – any combination of)
• Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated for serving
In a large soup pot fry the bacon until crisp, remove and leave fat in pot. Add a decent splash of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft.
Meanwhile crumble the sausage and brown in a separate pan.
Season soup pot with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add the diced tomatoes, then 1-1/2 to 2 cans of the chick peas, and the stock. Using kitchen twine, tie the herbs into a bundle and add to the pot. Season with the red chili flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the kale. Continue cooking until the kale is tender. Add the cooked sausage and all the drippings from the pan – deglaze the pan with a little wine to get all the good stuff. Simmer gently for a few more minutes, taste check for salt and pepper.
Put a handful of cooked pasta (small shells, elbows or similar) into a soup bowl then ladle soup in. Sprinkle with cheese and finish with a dash of olive oil on top.