Tonight we needed comfort food.
Since the fire there have been a few too many unknowns, some surprises, and a disappointment or two. Last night we packed up everything in our hotel room and loaded it into our cars, and this morning we checked out of the hotel, eager to move into the rental that we will call home while our house is being rebuilt. A few hours later, we learned that there were complications and it the rental is not ready for us yet.
So, we are back in the hotel again, gearing up for week four. Unpacking won’t be hard, because we don’t have very much with us. Our other belongings are in the care of people hired to pack, clean, inventory and store it for us. It’s all a good exercise in relinquishing control, and living in the moment. Ghandi said, “I do not want to foresee the future, I am concerned with taking care of the present.”
We actually disagree with him on that first point – we’d welcome foreseeing the future right now. But since we cannot, we’re going to find the positives. The kids have one more week of hotel waffles for breakfast – with whipped cream. They’ll get to swim in the pool a few more times. Someone will make our beds in the morning, and bring us fresh towels when we need them.
To commemorate our return to room 710, we took out our two knives and two pots and prepared a wonderful pasta e ceci. It was perhaps the best we’ve ever made it. This pasta soup, as our boys call it, is nourishing and soothing. Garlic and rosemary provide a fragrant base to the broth, while pureed chickpeas and pasta all’uovo, (egg-noodles) give it a hearty texture. There is hardly a more simple and delicious dish. Our stomachs are full and our minds are at peace.
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
2 16 oz. cans of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
6 cups water
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes*
2 cups egg-pasta fettuccine, cut or broken into pieces
Black pepper or crushed red pepper
*For convenience, we used Pomi strained tomatoes. Alternatively, you could puree whole canned tomatoes.
Quarter each clove of garlic lengthwise and sauté it along with the entire sprig of rosemary (do not remove the needles) in olive oil over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown and the rosemary has turned a sage green color. Remove the garlic and rosemary, and discard.
Rinse the chickpeas and add them to the seasoned olive oil. Let them cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the water and tomato puree, and stir. Turn the heat up to high and let it come to a boil uncovered. Add salt and black pepper to taste. We like a bit of heat, so instead of black pepper we used a dash of crushed red pepper. After a few minutes, spoon out approximately 2 cups of chickpeas, crush them or puree them in a food processor, and return the to the pot. When the soup boils, add the pieces of fettuccine and cook until al dente.
Remove from heat and serve in soup bowls with a drizzle of olive oil on top.
We recommend you try a Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno with your pasta e ceci. This organic blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese is a well-balanced and earthy wine with nice spiciness and acidity.