Tuesday, November 6, 2007


This recipe is Italian soul food. It's what Guy grew up on. I'm Hungarian-German, and my mother was not the world's greatest cook, so I was happy to adopt some great Italian recipes when I married Guy. This soup is easy to make and a great last-minute meal. Have a sandwich or a piece of pizza with it and call it a night. The typical way it's made is with escarole. But on one occasion a few years ago, our local store had no escarole. On a whim, I used Romaine and was pleasantly surprised with the results. If you're looking for a way to use up those outer leaves of Romaine that you usually throw away, this is it.

Italian Ce Ce Bean Soup

INGREDIENTS: 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 can drained ce ce beans (chick peas)
1 quart chicken broth (or more if needed)
About 8-10 large leaves of Romaine lettuce or 10-12 large leaves
of escarole, washed, dried and rough chopped
Fresh grated black pepper
Fresh grated Locatelli Romano cheese

DIRECTIONS: In a large (3-1/2 quart or larger) stockpot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic before the oil is hot. Saute the garlic very briefly, as it burns quickly. Add half a can of the ce ce beans that have been drained. Mash them with a potato masher or fork and just stir briefly with the garlic. Add the chicken broth, stir everything well, and bring to a boil. Add the lettuce which has been washed, dried and rough chopped, as below.

Lightly sprinkle with fresh grated black pepper, stir and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the remaining ce ce beans, simmer for about 5 minutes, no more. Serve in bowls with freshly grated Locatelli Romano cheese. BTW, chick peas are the main ingredient in hummus.

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