Golden Chickpea Soup
6 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Coat a 4-quart pot with nonstick olive oil cooking spray, and preheat over medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté for about 30 seconds, or just until the garlic begins to turn color.
Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the pasta to the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove the bay leaves from the soup, and discard.
Remove 4 cups of the soup-including vegetables and hot broth-from the pot. Place 2 cups of the removed soup in a blender, and place the lid on the blender, leaving the top slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Carefully blend at low speed until the mixture is smooth. Return the pursed mixture to the pot, and stir to mix well. Repeat with the remaining 2 cups of removed soup.
Add the pasta to the pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. (Be careful not to overcooks as the pasta will continue to soften in the hot soup.)
Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls, and serve hot.
Yield: 9 servings
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