Recipe – Pasta & Chickpea Soup with Prosciutto and Parmesan Rinds

I made this when I didn’t have the right ingredients for a traditional Pasta e Fagioli, nor for the kale and white bean soup recipe that I posted recently.

So I used chick peas (garbanzo beans) instead of cannellini beans, prosciutto instead of pancetta, and I threw in a few torn leaves of Tuscan kale along with a pinch of dried chili flakes and a couple of Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds that I always keep in the freezer. It was really, really good.

Somewhere between a pasta dish and a soup, this hearty meal in-a-bowl is dead easy to make because you cheat and open a couple of cans. Canned beans and tomatoes are food-cupboard staples for me…and are about as ‘processed’ as it gets in my kitchen. I always buy authentic Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano because the domestic varieties pale by comparison and lack the full flavor of the real deal.

If you don’t have any saved rinds, offer plenty of freshly grated parmesan to sprinkle over the soup once it’s served; it would be good to do both. The rinds soften with cooking so you might want to cut them into six to avoid a table fight.

The pasta is cooked separately in the usual way so if you make the soup ahead, add the cooked pasta after you’ve reheated it or it can get mushy.

You can also blend a ladle-full of the soup to give it a thicker consistency – one of those electric hand-held things inserted in the soup pan for a couple of seconds should do the trick. I didn’t bother here.



(Serves 6)


One 14 oz (411g) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 cup (120ml measure) of chopped prosciutto

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 small carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

A few leaves of kale torn up, stalks discarded

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

A few dried pepper flakes (optional)

3-4 small parmesan rinds

6-8 cups of chicken stock

One 14 oz (411g) can of chopped tomatoes with their juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lb of dry weight small pasta shapes – cooked ‘al dente’ according to instructions then rinsed in cold water and drained

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the chopped prosciutto. Sauté for a few minutes then add the onions, carrot, celery, kale, pepper flakes (if using) and garlic. Stir occasionally until everything has softened (5-8 minutes) – add the stock, beans, canned tomatoes, thyme and parmesan rinds.

Season with salt to taste and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover with a lid and continue to cook for approx 1 hour or until everything is really tender. Puree a small amount of soup at this point if you want a thicker consistency.

Add the cooked drained pasta and heat through for a few minutes – check the seasoning; add lots of freshly ground black pepper and serve with hot crusty Italian bread and extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to pass around.

About edibletcetera

I'm passionate about food; I cook, photograph, eat...then writes about it in that order. I'm also an occasional restaurant critic and caterer; a former newspaper columnist; author; social media/marketing communications; world traveler; dog lover; skier...and wit, (according to those who know me).
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3 Responses to Recipe – Pasta & Chickpea Soup with Prosciutto and Parmesan Rinds

  1. Eating the rinds – I approve! This looks lovely and perfect for the changing of the seasons. I bet veggies could add a dollop of pistou instead of the prosciutto.

    • Thank you! Parmesan rinds are wonderfully chewy and satisfying – I can’t imagine why most people throw them away. And I agree with you; vegetarians can replace the chicken stock with veg broth or water and pistou (pesto without pine nuts) would be a perfect alternative to the prosciutto. On the other hand, if prosciutto isn’t available but you still want some pork in there, good old American bacon would also taste good as long as its chopped, crisped – and drained of extra fat!

  2. Pingback: Now That It’s Soup Weather… | Edibletcetera – Fast & Fabulous Food

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