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Zuppa di Ceci al Rosmarino
(Chickpea and Rosmary Soup)

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Larry and Heather of CycleItalia Cycling Tours sent me this Italian recipe for chickpea soup that certainly qualifies for this site: It's easy enough for a bike racer to make and it's good, healthy food.

Larry and Heather send out an electronic newsletter. Each has a recipe for a tasty Italian dish plus news of upcoming CycleItalia tours. If you would like to get on his e-mail list, shoot him a note. His "contact us" link is in the upper right-hand corner of his home page.

This hearty soup can even be enjoyed by vegans!    

2 Cups dry chickpeas (ceci in Italian, garbanzo in Spanish)
1 white potato
1 medium carrot
1/2 Cup chopped carrot
1 Cup yellow onion, minced fine
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 Tablespoon dry)
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced (or 1/2 Tablespoon dry)
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil (use the best you can find)

Soak the dry chickpeas overnight in cold water. In a pinch you could use canned peas but they tend to be mushy in soups like this.

Combine the drained chickpeas, the potato and carrot in a large pot, cover with water and boil. Reduce heat to low and cook partially covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove potato and carrot, set aside.

Drain chickpeas but save the liquid.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large saucepan, saute onions, chopped carrot, rosemary and sage just until soft and golden, set aside.

Puree (or mash using a potato masher and flat dish) half the chickpeas, the potato and the carrot, then add the sauteed onion mixture and the rest of the chickpeas to your pot, stir together.

Add enough of the reserved liquid to cover by a couple of inches and simmer on medium heat.

Stir and cook until soup thickens.

Heather likes to use an immersion blender to get the consistency we like, though an authentic dish should have some whole checkpeas remaining.

Serve hot with olive oil drizzled on top just before serving.