5 Ingredients or Fewer

Pasta & Chickpea Soup With Miso & Chile Oil

March  9, 2020
7 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

What would happen to Italian pasta e ceci if, instead of using tomato paste, you used miso? In this weeknight-ready Big Little Recipe, I riffed on Victoria Granof’s Genius Pasta e Ceci. Just like with tomato paste, stir-frying miso in a slick of oil dials up its umami, and adds a roasty-toasty flavor to the broth. My go-to brand is Miso Master, but any subtle white or yellow miso will work. And instead of flavoring the soup itself with garlic, then spicing it with chile flakes, I reach for one of my favorite condiments that does both: Lao Gan Ma’s Spicy Chili Crisp. Its kicky, oniony flavor adds some needed bite to creamy, salt-loving legumes, and the garlicky oil adds heft to an otherwise thin broth. Instead of ditalini, you can use small elbows, or another similar-sized shape. Just adjust the cook time accordingly and remember to cook it less than you normally would—as the hot soup sits, the pasta will continue to cook, and you don’t want it to become mushy. You’ll note that I don’t call for any salt here; the white miso and chili crisp add plenty of seasoning. If you want, you can stir in a hearty green, like kale, or even a frozen vegetable, like peas. But my favorite move is to serve a pared-down salad alongside, along with an extra-cold beer or glass of white wine. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 1/2 cups just-boiled water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup ditalini
  • 2 teaspoons chili crisp (such as Lao Gan Ma or Fly By Jing), with oil, adjusted to taste
  1. Add the oil and miso to a large saucepan or small soup pot. Set on the stove over medium to medium-low heat and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the miso is threatening to burn, until the miso is very fragrant and a toasty, chestnutty brown. Carefully pour off the oil into a small heatproof bowl (you don’t need to obsess over every last drop, just try to get most of it); discard this later on, whenever it’s cool. Set the pan back on the stove and add about half the water, stirring until the miso is incorporated and all the bits on the bottom are scraped up. Add the rest of the water, as well as the chickpeas and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the pasta is super-duper al dente (remember, it will continue to cook as it hangs out in the hot soup). Divide into two soup bowls and top with however much chili crisp you want.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Max Well
    Max Well
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Sherry Schreiber
    Sherry Schreiber
  • Chimes
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

7 Reviews

Sherry S. April 7, 2022
the recipes is very simple but it definitely benefitted from adding salt. othewise it was too land, even with chili crisp.
Max W. May 20, 2020
I'm excited to try this, it sounds great. Where i live you can buy so many kinds of Lao Gan Ma, all the same company but lots of variations if that makes sense. Is there a particular one you recommend?
Emma L. May 21, 2020
Hi! Their spicy chili crisp is my go-to.
Max W. May 21, 2020
Thank you!
Chimes March 11, 2020
Just made this for lunch, it's extremely easy and good! I added a bunch of swiss chard. I was especially glad to find the chili oil worked so well -- I've had a jar for a while and while theoretically it should be good on everything, this soup was the first time I've used it where the flavor really blended in and contributed to the whole instead of sticking out and being cloying.
Emma L. March 11, 2020
Thanks, Chimes! Adding Swiss chard sounds so good.
2334612499 March 10, 2020
Very flavorful soup, its well made and delicious as an appetizer