SAUSAGE, CHICKPEA AND POTATO SOUP
1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 pound cooked chickpeas;
1/2 pound fresh Italian sausage
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
1 small onion, peeled and sliced ( 1/2 cup)
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
3/4 pound Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups chicken broth
Toasts of peasant-style bread rubbed with raw garlic
If you are using dried chickpeas, prepare according to package, cooked until tender.
Remove the casing of the sausage and crumble the sausage with the rosemary and 1 garlic clove. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot and add the crumbled sausage and garlic, saute for a few minutes, stirring to extract aromas then transfer the sausage to a plate and discard the garlic. Heat the remaining oil in the pot, add the onion, last garlic cloves and the red pepper flakes, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. When the onion turns a rich tawny color, stir in the tomatoes, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. Add the chickpeas, potatoes, sausage, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, pour the broth in the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook gently until the potatoes are tender 30-40 minutes. (Mashing some potato cubes and returning to the soup will thicken it.) Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.
Place a toast rubbed with garlic in each soup plate; pour the soup over the bread and drizzle olive oil on top of the soup. Serves 6 to 8