Versions of this soup - with pancetta, without pancetta, with anchovies & without anchovies are made all over Italy.
In this version, my favorite, onions are sautéed with chopped up pancetta to which home cooked chick-peas are added (not canned puhleez), a bit of crushed tomatoes and a whole bunch of chopped up red Swiss chard. The whole pot, chick pea stock and all is set to simmer for over an hour.
A lovely and hearty thick soup, really wholesome and filling and just perfect with some yummy crusty bread is all you need for a complete dinner. I have been packing these to school and work for the boys in their Pyrex soup-to-go cups and they love it.
You really want to make the effort and cook the chickpeas at home. You’ll need to soak the chickpeas overnight and use a pressure cooker so they cook in 25-30 minutes. Cooking at 2 atmospheres will do the trick every time!
Lately I’ve found that the quality of chickpeas is a little tough and doesn’t get creamy after cooking which really makes a huge difference to the mouth feel. My mum suggested a pinch of soda bicarbonate to counter this and it really works. You know what they say, mum knows best!
Also, chopped up pancetta and right there you know we’re off to a roaring start. If you can’t find pancetta, which is slightly milder to bacon, use chopped up bacon. Vegetarians of course can forego the whole lot but no worries, the soup will still be delicious.
So give it a go and let me know how you like it.