This was one of my favorite meals growing up and I would constantly ask my grandmother to make it. It's a tomato-based soup with some chickpeas and pasta, served with a good dose of freshly chopped cilantro. It's the best.
My grandmother doesn't cook anymore and I live abroad so I hadn't had that soup in years but I found myself craving it a couple of weeks ago. I called my grandma to ask for the recipes and her instructions were hilariously vague — it didn't really come as a surprise since she has never followed a recipe in her life, always cooking on instinct and somehow always getting it right.
Here's an actual moment from our conversation:
Me: How many tomatoes do you put in this?
Her: Just enough.
Me: How much is enough?
Her: You'll know.
After many more questions, I managed to get the broad outline of a recipe and I filled in the blanks myself. The result was as delicious as I remembered it and is bound to become a staple in my home again. —Marie Telling
Here's the recipe:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions (or 1 large), chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 medium zucchini (or 2 big ones), chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt, pepper
1 cup small pasta
1 can chickpeas
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and the red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the potato, zucchini, and the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once, it's boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer.
In the meantime, carve a small X into your tomatoes, and microwave them in a bowl for about 7 minutes. Let them cool a little bit, then peel the skin and chop them. Place the tomatoes in the pot with the rest of the soup and let it simmer until all the vegetables are tender (about 40–45 minutes).
Ten minutes before your veggies are done cooking, cook your pasta until al dente.
Once the vegetables are tender, blend the soup, either with an immersion blender or in a blender. Season with salt and pepper and keep it warm over low heat.
Drain your chickpeas and add it to the soup. When you're ready to serve, add the pasta to the soup and some chopped cilantro.
Serve topped with a handful chopped cilantro. Enjoy!