Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a journey of spiritual growth, requiring fasting, the giving of alms and prayer. Although this is a solemn season more about self-denial than indulgence, it is also about food and fellowship. Lent provides an opportunity to gather and share meals together, as well as worship and pray. Every year on the first Friday of Lent, the teens of our parish in Tucson, act out the Stations of the Cross, followed by a soup supper. On the remaining Fridays, the Stations of the Cross are led by other members of the church and always conclude with a soup supper. These nights are such a marvelous way to come together as a community, share our faith, enjoy delicious soups (prepared by volunteers) and break bread together. My Macaroni and Cauliflower, Zuppa di Pesce and Peppery Chickpea and Pasta Soup (Recipe below) are recurring favorites.
- 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 8 cups water, plus 2 cups
- 1 tablespoon course salt
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup ditalini or other small pasta (uncooked)
- Rinse the chickpeas and discard any stones. Transfer to a large pot with 8 cups of water and the salt. Cover the pot and soak overnight (24 hours).
- Do not drain! Remove the lid and bring the chickpeas and the water they soaked in to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow but steady simmer. Cook covered until tender, about 90 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the oregano. Cook 10 -12 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook 2 minutes longer.
- When the chickpeas are finished cooking, carefully transfer the vegetables to the soup pot. Add the remaining 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, add the ditalini and cook until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with bruschette.