Don’t you just love cold weather soups? As winter approaches here in Umbria I’ve been making a variety of soups – and this one is definitely a favorite. The combination of sweet, buttery chestnuts with savory chickpeas and a bit of rosemary is heavenly. Plus it’s an easy-to-make, crowd-pleasing soup for the holidays. Perfetto!
- 4-5 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups dried chestnuts
- 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
- 3-4 cups water
In a large soup pot simmer the celery, carrots, onion and garlic in olive oil. When translucent (about 10-15 minutes) add the chestnuts, 3 cups water and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, adding additional water if necessary. (Note: Dried chestnuts will soften as they absorb liquid during simmering.) Add chickpeas and remove and discard the rosemary sprigs.
Remove from heat and ladle mixture into a food processor or blender in 2-3 batches. Process on high until smooth and creamy. Optional: For a chunkier texture, process the final batch just slightly.
Return the soup to the pot and reheat. Serve hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Pamela Haack creates and hosts boutique-style, small group tours that are a combination of the very best of Italy: the exciting and the peaceful, the popular and the secret, the talked about and the never-heard-of-before. From art experts and operettas to authentic cooking classes and ancient Etruscans, Pamela helps visitors experience the spectacularly beautiful, endlessly interesting cities and countryside of Italy in an up-close and personal way – off the beaten strada.
Pamela is also the author of Top 10 Favorite Etruscan Sites. She lives with her husband, Lou, in Umbria, Italy.