Author Notes: A take on Pasta e Ceci, I started out with my twist on "Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter" as the base and went from there, adding spinach, ground fennel and basil instead of the traditional rosemary and olive oil. A tasty soup for a cold blustery evening. - inpatskitchen
Makes about 2 to 3 quarts
For the tomato sauce
- 1 14.5 ounce can plum tomatoes, crushed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup rough chopped onions
- 3 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1 heaping teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 cup water
- Place all ingredients into a 4 or 5 quart soup pot, bring up to a boil and then down to a low simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool the mixture a bit and then puree in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree right in the pot.
For the soup
- The tomato sauce
- 5 to 6 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups cooked chick peas (or two 14.5 ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 1/2 cups mini shell pasta (or ditalini, tubetti, or elbows)
- 1 heaping tablespoon home made or commercially prepared basil pesto (or 12 finely sliced fresh basil leaves)
- 2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves, thick stems removed
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan plus lots more for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste if needed
- Add the tomato sauce, 5 cups of the chicken broth and the chick peas to the soup pot, bring up to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the pasta, bring back up to the boil and then simmer until the pasta is just al dente. Depending on your pasta this will take about 6 to 8 minutes, give or take.
- At this point if the soup seems too thick, add that sixth cup of chicken broth and bring back up to a simmer.
- Stir in the pesto or basil leaves and the spinach and simmer until the spinach wilts. Stir in the quarter cup of parmesan and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve in bowls topped with more parmesan.