In my Italian American family the term minestra was used to refer to soup or a soupy pasta dish. This recipe for chickpea minestra is a soupy version of pasta with chickpeas and is my favorite of the pasta with beans recipes that I have posted. It is a great dish for a cold day.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated or sliced
2 cups fresh tomatoes (I did half red, half yellow)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken stock or more to taste
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. ditalini pasta
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add onions and cook 5 minutes or until onions are beginning to soften. Add fennel and garlic. Cook 3 minutes. Add grated carrot. Sauté 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and chickpeas. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. While the sauce is cooking, boil the ditalini. Add cooked pasta to the simmering sauce. It should be soupy. Serve with Parmesan cheese on the side. Serves 4.