Vellutata di Ceci Con Calamari (creamy Chickpea Soup with Seared Calamari)

 

All in all, this meal takes about 10 minutes to make, using good quality, pre-cooked tinned chickpeas. Of course, you get great results if using dried chickpeas that you have already soaked and boiled yourself—this, however, takes about 2 hours to cook, plus an overnight soak (you can find this version in my cookbook, Florentine). It's also a wonderful blank canvas of a dish that you can leave as simple as can be or that you can add to for different variations. Make it as smooth or as rustic as you like: Some blend about three-quarters of the chickpeas and leave the rest chunky for texture. Spice things up by adding some chile, fresh or in the form of dried flakes, and if you don't have chickpeas, you can do this same dish with white cannellini beans. Try to get baby calamari or smaller-sized calamari for this. You could also use scallops in place of the calamari, flash-seared the same way so they remain tender and cut like butter. The recipe below is adapted from my recipe in Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence.

What you will need

5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving, divided

3 garlic cloves, whole

3 to 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked

1 pound (500 grams) tinned chickpeas, drained

10 1/2 ounces (300 grams) cleaned baby calamari or squid

salt and pepper

4 slices ciabatta or country bread, grilled or toasted, for serving

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