It is cold and has been kind of snowy, which means it is soup season. I have a whole bunch of kale in the refrigerator so I'm trying to use it up (I've made a lot of kale chips, for example). I decided to make this soup, but I changed a few things. Instead of chickpeas, I used cannelini beans. I used mafalda pasta instead of bowties because that is what I had already opened. I used kale instead of swiss chard. And I added fresh rosemary sprigs that I dried from our summer garden to infuse the soup from the start. These were all excellent ideas.
The not-so-excellent idea was to add extra red pepper, and early on, so it would have time to really spice up the soup. The result of this was a very, very spicy but deliciously autumny minestrone soup. My gentleman liked it a lot but did have issues with the amount of spice. I liked it but I did wish I'd reduced the red pepper. Oh well! Next time.
Chickpea Tomato Minestrone
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks -- diced medium
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup small pasta (such as Barilla Mini Farfalle)
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch swiss chard or kale, chopped, discard hard stems
Salt and pepper
Dash red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften. Next, add in the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Then add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes (with the juices from the can), and oregano. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Add in the stems of swiss chard, chickpeas, and pasta. Let cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the swiss chard leaves and let cook for 30 seconds or just until the leaves start to wilt. Remove from heat.
Add salt / pepper / red pepper flakes to taste and top with Parmesan.