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COOKING WITH GALA

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CHICKPEA AND ASPARAGUS SOUP

1 c cooked, drained chickpeas
4 c vegetable or chicken broth
5-6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
lb asparagus
Black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

Combine chickpeas, stock and half the garlic in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Snap tips off the asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces and reserve. Peel the tougher ends and dice, then add them to the soup. Cook 5-10 minutes or until asparagus is tender and chickpeas are soft.
Let cool slightly and remove about 1/3 of the soup mash or puree it.
Return puree to the saucepan, add the asparagus tips and heat until tender.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo until just tender, drain it and stir in remaining garlic. Place large spoonful or orzo in bowl, ladle soup on top. Garnish with lemon juice and/or Parmesan just before serving.