Wild n' soupy - mushroom pasta recipe with saffron and chickpea
STEPS 7 INGREDIENTS 13 TIME 45 MINS
With it you not only get to enjoy the succulent munch of cooked chickpeas but also the scrummy texture and earthy taste of fresh mushrooms, the glorious warm color saffron brings, plus the dried herb or herbs of your choice.
This soup's thicker base meanwhile is supplied by 'trito' (pronounced tree-toe) - Italy's winning triumvirate of finely chopped and fried celery, carrot and onion (the base level of many a great tomato sauce).
When creating this particular mushroom pasta recipe, Laura (my Italian wife) and I were also lucky to have access to a box of 'pizzocheri' - tagliatelle-style long pasta from the Northern Valtellina region of Italy. This pasta is harder and chewier than normal, because it is made using buckwheat flour or 'farro'. If you can find this type of pasta or something similar in-store, I highly recommend you buy and use it, as it really does gives this hearty dish even more 'full meal' substance.
400g/14oz can of chickpeas (ceci in Italian)
200g/7oz fresh mushrooms (fresh from the farmer's market!)
150g/5.3oz small pasta shapes (i.e. macaroni, ditali) or broken long pasta
1 stalk of celery (for trito)
1 small carrot (for trito)
1 small onion (for trito)
Glass of white wine
1 teaspoon of your dried herb(s) of choice (we used French provencal herbs, but you could use thyme, oregano etc.)
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
Small sachet of saffron (1/2 - 1 teaspoon)
Extra virgin olive oil
STEP 1 - First remove the ends and peel the 3 trito veg, then chop these as finely as you can and mix together well.
- Give the mushrooms a wipe with a cloth, then chop off their stalks and slice the remainder thinly (we'll deal with these in step 6).
STEP 2 - Half cover the base of a large, deep cooking pan in olive oil and warm through on a medium heat hob.
- Take 2 heaped (full) tablespoons of the trito and fry to soften this for around 5 mins. This provides the flavorful base for our dish.
STEP 3 - With the onion now a little softened, pour in the glass of wine and add the saffron.
- Fry for 5-10 mins more, until most of the wine has evaporated (removing the alcohol but retaining the taste).
STEP 4 - Add the can of chickpeas, including its water, then fill the can up with hot water again and add that too.
- Also add 2 teaspoons of salt and a pinch of pepper.
- Stir well, then simmer the whole lot for 5 minutes.
STEP 5 - Now add the pasta, stir well, and cook for as long as the pasta's packet suggests.
Tip: Have a boiled kettle on standby in case you need to add a little more water for the pasta to finish cooking.
STEP 6 - Now we'll cook up the mushrooms, for which you have a choice:
- If you're a nervous/beginner cook, you can wait for the pasta to cook, then move the pot to a very low heat before tackling the mushrooms.
- Or we can deal with the mushrooms while the pasta cooks (it's easy).
- To cook the mushrooms then... take a small frying pan and glug in four tablespoons of olive oil.
- Heat oil on a medium heat, then add your sliced mushrooms and a half teaspoon of your favorite dried herbs (thyme, Provence herbs, oregano etc.).
- Fry for 5 mins until the mushrooms soften nicely. Then take off the heat.
STEP 7 - When the pasta is ready (taste it!), grate in 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly.
To serve: Pour the pasta soup into bowls, pop mushrooms in the center of each, then drizzle the remaining oil (from their pan) around the edge.
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