Golden Vegetable Chickpea Minestrone (Slower, Extra-Flavorful Version)
This version starts with dried chickpeas and uses their cooking liquid to build a flavorful broth. This is the version I make when I can start it the day before, soaking and cooking the broth ahead of time.
Beans and broth:
- 1 cup (200 g) dried chickpeas
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- a few sprigs fresh sage or thyme
- 1 or 2 parmesan rinds (about 2 inches square or the equivalent)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Crusty bread (such as La Brea Bakery Seeded Grain Loaf), for serving
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced diagonally into ¼-inch thick ovals
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 3 cups 1-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
- ½ pound (225 g) yellow fingerling potatoes, sliced ½-inch thick
- 1 small yellow beet, peeled, quartered, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
- 18 ounces (525 ml) jarred whole peeled tomatoes, drained, seeded, and cut into large chunks
- fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 8-10 ounces (280 g) dry shells, macaroni, or other small pasta, cooked until al dente and tossed with olive oil
- shaved parmesan, for serving
- Lemon Parsley Oil, for serving (below)
Make the beans:
Soak the beans for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight in cool water. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan along with the garlic, bay leaves, herbs, parmesan rind, and enough water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the beans are almost tender, 30 minutes. Add the salt and continue to cook until the beans are very tender, adding more water if needed. Remove from the heat and let the beans cool in their cooking liquid if not using right away. Remove the bay leaves, herb branches, and parmesan rinds. The beans can be made up to 3 days head and refrigerated airtight in their broth.
Make the soup:
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly, 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook another 3 minutes, then add the squash, potatoes, beets, herbs, and the chickpeas and their cooking liquid, plus water as needed to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender but still holding a shape, 10-20 minutes, adding more water as needed to make a brothy soup. Stir in the tomatoes and a few good grinds of pepper, then taste, adding salt if you feel the soup needs it.
Divide the pasta among shallow bowls, ladle in some soup, and serve with parsley oil, shaved parmesan, and more black pepper, with crusty bread on the side. The soup and pasta can be stored separately, refrigerated airtight, for up to 4 days.