From The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rosetto Kasper
Light and brothy, fragrant with rosemary and garlic, this is a new style of bean soup for most of us. Such a fine broth comes from merely simmering chickpeas with a few herbs and some onion.
2 c. (14 oz.) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in the refrigerator in water to cover by 2 inches (Stephanie’s note – since chickpeas typically come in 16-oz. bags, use all 16 oz., add extra water)
1 1/2 Tbsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for seasoning at the table (Stephanie’s note: very important step, finishing the soup with a drizzle of best oil)
1 medium to large onion, minced
2 6-inch branches fresh rosemary
6 large fresh sage leaves
1 large bay leaf
1 large clove garlic, minced (Stephanie’s note: I use 4 large cloves, garlic is so mellow in a long-cooked soup like this)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
about 1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1. Drain the chickpeas, rinse, and turn into a 4-quart pot. Add water to cover by 2 inches (or a bit more). Cover and bring to a slow simmer.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, rosemary, sage, and bay. Saute 15 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden. Stir in the garlic, cooking for a few seconds.
3. Stir about 1/2 cup of the chickpea liquid into the pan, swish it around to pick up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and turn everything into the chickpea cooking pot. Simmer 3 hours, or until the chickpeas are tender but not falling apart. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes, or until the broth is full flavored.
4. Remove herbs. Puree two thirds of the mixture in a blender (or use a stick/immersion blender), then stir back into the pot. Season to taste. Ladle into heated soup bowls, twirl a thread of olive oil over each serving, and sprinkle with pepper and a few parsley leaves.