Italian chickpea soup

Lindsey Bareham

This is a classy fridge tidy soup, chunky with vegetables and diced pancetta, a can of chickpeas for bulk. I like it served lukewarm with a generous swirl of best olive oil and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan. It could, though, be served with a spoonful of pesto or a handful of shredded cavolo nero added for the last few minutes of cooking.

serves 4, prep 20 min, cook 40 min

75g diced pancetta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 carrots
1 fennel bulb
4 vine tomatoes
1 tbsp flour
400g can chickpeas
1 litre light chicken stock

Brown the pancetta in the olive oil in a spacious, lidded pan while you halve, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Scrape the carrots and slice in thin rounds. Halve the fennel lengthways and slice thinly across the halves. Cover the tomatoes with boiling water, count to 30, drain, cut out the cores, quarter the tomatoes and swipe away the skin. Place a sieve over a bowl and scrape the seeds into the sieve. Crush with a spoon to extract the juice. Chop the tomato.

Stir the onion and garlic into the pancetta, stir fry for a couple of minutes then add carrots and fennel, ¼ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cover the pan, reduce the heat slice and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 min. Stir in the flour and when disappeared, add the stock. Bring to the boil, giving the occasional stir, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 min. Add tomatoes and their juice. Simmer for a further 10 min, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve now or later.