Chickpea and Chestnut Soup (Zuppe di Ceci e Castagne)

January 7, 2022

I know what you’re thinking. Won’t this soup be beige? Don’t let the mild mannered color fool you; this soup is deliciously sweet, satisfying and rich without being heavy. And because it nourishes our spleen energy, well, it’s pretty much the perfect starter course.

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredient List:

  • ½ cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 1 hour with 2 teaspoons baking soda)
  • 10-12 fresh chestnuts, boiled, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, minced
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pinch of chili flakes 
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh flatleaf parsley, coarsely chopped for garnish

Step By Step Instructions:

Drain soaked chickpeas and rinse them very well to remove the baking soda. Transfer them to a pot with 1 ½ cups spring or filtered water. Add one sprig of rosemary, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about an hour. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the cooking water.

While the chickpeas cook, bring another pot of water with the chestnuts to the boil. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Drain well and allow the chestnuts to cool just enough to be able to handle them. (If they cool too much, they will be very challenging to peel).

Chop the chestnuts finely. Set aside.

Place half of the chickpeas and some of the cooking water with a blender and puree until smooth.

In a soup pot, pot, place 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic, sage, the remaining rosemary (chopped) and chili flakes. Stir in the chickpeas, (whole and pureed), the chestnuts, and a light seasoning of salt. Add remaining cooking liquid from the chickpeas as needed to create the texture of soup you desire. Cover and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes more.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil, topped with fresh chopped parsley.

Cook’s Tip: You can use canned organic chickpeas and frozen cooked chestnuts to eliminate those beginning steps to create a quicker version of this soup.