Recently, I was introduced to a West Coast singer/songwriter who — along with being an inspired and inspiring artist and entertainer — is also a proponent of gluten-free cuisine. Chris Levy’s band is called “Son of Levi” in honor of his father, and his album “Always” was released earlier this year. (You can check out a sample of his music on his site.)
As a fellow freelancer, I love to spread the word about independent artists and creators, so I offered to introduce him to the friends and dinner guests in my virtual kitchen space and develop a recipe for him. His main requirement? “Italian.” Love it! (Who doesn’t?) In the spirit of summer, I went out to my garden to see what was at its peak. The kale was frilly and gorgeous and oh-so-Italian .. and hence the Tuscan Kale & Chickpea Summer Soup was born. This one’s for you, Chris!
Tuscan Kale & Chickpea Summer Soup
Serves 2 very hungry diners or 4 medium-hungry diners.
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
32 oz. chicken broth, preferably from free-range chicken
2 servings corn or brown-rice spaghetti*
At least 6 wedges/sections of roasted red pepper, chopped (I used jarred roasted red peppers, but of course feel free to roast your own — you’ll find instructions imbedded within this recipe for roasted red pepper hummus)
15 oz. chickpeas, drained (opt for Eden if you want a BPA-free can)
Several large leaves of kale, chopped
1 T. dried Italian herbs (which is typically a blend of basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme, and rosemary; you can use any or all of those in combination if you don’t have a blend on hand)
Shaved/grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the onions are starting to turn brown and caramelize. Pour in the broth and add the pasta. Cook for 3 minutes, then add remaining ingredients (except for the Parmesan). Simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta has reached its desired tenderness.
Serve garnished with a generous helping of Parmesan and an additional sprinkling of Italian herbs. This soup would also be fantastic with some Italian sausage — either slice the sausage into wedges and then cook it before stirring into the soup at the end, or crumble the raw sausage into the soup when you add the kale.
* These are gluten-free pastas. If you’d prefer to use a wheat-based version, opt for spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat spaghetti.
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