Onecan (14 ounce)chickpeas in waterdrained and rinsed (or 8 1/2 ounces [240 g] cooked chickpeas)
A generous pinch of hot chile flakes or mild red pepper flakes (optional)
7ouncessmall pasta tubes (ditalini is traditional)gluten-free if needed
5 1/4ouncesfresh kale or other leafy greensstems removed and finely sliced (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheeseto serve
Extra virgin olive oilfor drizzling
In a large, deep pot or Dutch oven with lid over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the carrots, onions, celery, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and the onion is translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and chile, if using, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it darkens and melds with the oil.
Add 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or hot water, plenty of black pepper, the rosemary, chickpeas, and chile or pepper flakes, if using. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
If you prefer a thicker, richer broth, remove about 2 ladlefuls of the stew and use a stick blender to blitz until completely smooth, then pour back into the pot. Otherwise, proceed to step 5.
☞TESTER TIP: If you’ve got some Parmesan rinds stashed in your freezer, toss one into the soup while it simmers.
Return the soup to a simmer, then add the pasta and 1 cup vegetable broth or hot water. Cover and cook until al dente, according to package instructions, stirring now and then and topping up the broth or water as needed.
If using, add the kale/cabbage about 3 minutes before the pasta is done, stir and put the lid back on. (If you like well-cooked greens without any crunch, add 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked.)
Taste and add more seasoning (remember the cheese is salty, too) or chile flakes, if you like. Serve in wide bowls, with Parmesan grated over and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
☞TESTER TIP: When reheating leftovers, stir in additional broth or water, as the soup will thicken considerably as it sits.