Chickpea & Pumpkin Soup - Zuppa di Ceci & Zucca
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 hearty servings
  • 1½ pounds of butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and chopped
  • 12 ounces of dried ceci beans, preferably imported from Umbria
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 unpeeled clove of garlic
  • 1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 cup dry white wine, preferably Italian
  • Parmigiano rind, optional
  • Extra virgin olive oil, quanta basta
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. The evening before you prepare the soup, rinse the dried beans in cool water then cover the rinsed beans with enough water to reach 2 inches above the level of the ceci. Set aside covered until the next morning.
  2. Drain the beans, rinse and cover again with fresh water in the same manner. Add two bay leaves, clove of garlic and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off any frothy matter that accumulates. Cook until the beans are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes and set aside. This step can actually be done a few days in advance however be sure to soak the beans overnight.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large heavy duty pot with olive oil and heat over a medium flame. Add the chopped celery, onion, juniper berries and the remaining bay leaf and slowly cook until the vegetables are soft and the aroma of the juniper berries & bay leaf fill the kitchen - about 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash pieces and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring a bit for an additional 5 minutes. Add the dry white wine, bring the pot to a simmer and cook covered an additional 10 minutes over a low-medium flame.
  4. Add half of the cooked ceci beans to the pot and about 3 cups of the bean cooking liquid or enough to cover the vegetables along with a Parmigiano rind if you are using one. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender.
  5. Remove the bay leaf, juniper berries, and Parmigiano rind and using an immersion blender, create a puree of the contents of the pot. This can also be done once the contents are cool in a blender.
  6. Return the pot to the stove with the puree, add the remaining whole ceci beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. If you feel as though the soup is too thick, add some fresh water.
  7. The soup is ready to serve or may be refrigerated for several days. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil before serving. A slice of toasted country bread rubbed with extra virgin olive oil and garlic makes a nice accompaniment to the satisfying soup.
Recipe by LaBellaSorella at