Today, I’m told, Italians celebrate the Halloween that we in America have popularized around the world with costumes, candy for the children, and parties for the adults. Of course, this is all great fun and my children always celebrate Halloween on October 31st. But, I’ve also been told that the Italian traditions for the days after Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1st and 2nd are still followed in Italy, and the food traditions have remained intact.
Since my father passed away almost 5 years ago, I have come to realize the importance of a day like All Souls Day. I want my children to remember the times they shared with their grandfather and other relatives who are no longer with us. Setting aside a special day to get together and reminisce about the past is one way to make sure we remember the times we cherished together as a family. After all, our connections to the past help to shape our future as well.
I was especially happy when I recently came across a blog by Cinzia from Instant Italy about All Souls Day. I discovered that in Liguria Italians celebrate All Souls Day with a special chick pea soup that uses ribs to flavor the broth, called ceci con le costine. I’ve made my own version of this soup to for my Sunday “remembrance” dinner in November this year. Given the circumstances (i.e. given that it is still 2020), this soup will be a warming treat I can present in decorative jars and drop on a few doorsteps.
Why not try to make this soup for your family? My version is like a simple minestrone soup, but without the pasta and the cooking time can be split up into two days. It’s a great way to start off the fall season!
If you’d like to read Cinzia’s blog to learn more about how Italians celebrate the Halloween season, just click on this link: All Saints’ Day in Italy.
Recipe is listed below. Check out my latest Instagram video from Conversationalitalian.french and watch me make the dish if you like!
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Italian rib and chickpea soup for All Souls Day Nov 2, after Halloween. Celebrated in Italy to remember those in the family who have passed. Method: Brown garlic and ribs or veal bones in olive oil, add 16c water, coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrots, and bunch of celery. Stir once and let simmer at least 2h until meat falls off bone. Soak 1 lb dried chickpeas in water in separate bowl. Remove bones and vegs from broth. Refrig broth overnight. Skim off fat and add chickpeas. Cook 1 hr. Remove 1 c and puree; add back. Add final vegs: finely chopped onion, celery, carrots, 1 can 28 oz. chopped tomatoes. Cook until all vegs soft, stirring, and then add fresh Swiss chard or other green. Enjoy! #osnap #allsoulsday #allsouls #italiansoup #italiansoups #chickpearecipes #chickpeastew #chickpeasoup #chickpeasoupforthesoul #chickpeasouprecipe #italianholiday #italianholidays #november2nd
For more recipes like these, as well as French recipes, follow me on my Instagram posts at Conversationalitalian.french.
Chick Pea Soup with Ribs for All Souls Day
(Ceci con le Costine)
For the Broth
(Best if made a day ahead)
1 lb. pork ribs or veal soup bones
2 cloves of garlic, papery skin removed
1 medium onion, skin removed and quartered
2 stalks of celery, chopped coarsely
3-4 carrots, chopped coarsely
1 bunch fresh parsley tied with cooking twine
1 lb. bag of dried chick peas, soaked in water overnight to soften
2 cans (16 oz.) chick peas, drained
For the Soup
(To be added to the broth)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
chick peas, either dried/soaked or canned (as above)
1 can (28 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
Fresh or frozen Swiss Chard or Spinach
Make the Broth
Use a large soup pot or stock pot for this recipe.
Pour 2 Tbsp. of olive oil into the stock pot. Add the pork ribs or veal bones and 2 cloves of garlic, intact but flattened with the back of a knife. Salt and pepper the ribs. Brown the ribs on all sides over medium heat, turning while they cook.
Add 16 cups of water and the coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrots and the bunch of parsley. Stir.
Cook the broth uncovered as follows: Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to medium low heat to keep the broth at a simmer until the meat has cooked and is falling off the bone, about 2 -3 hours. Skim off any foam that forms on the top of the soup periodically, but do not stir the soup while the broth is cooking.
After the broth has cooked long enough to gain flavor from the ribs and vegetables, remove the ribs and vegetables and parsley.
Put the pot of broth into the refrigerator if you have two days to make the soup. This will allow any fat to float to the surface and harden so it can be skimmed off the next day. Otherwise, proceed to make the soup.
Make the Soup
The next day, take the broth out of the refrigerator and skim the fat off the top.
Put the pot on the stove. Add the soaked chickpeas and cook until they have softened, about 1 hour. (If you have a bag of old chick peas have been sitting in the cupboard for awhile, they may take longer to soften.)
Remove 1 cup of the pre-cooked chick peas and puree. Add back to the soup.
If using canned chick peas instead of dried, add the canned chick peas, with one cup pureed, at this time into the soup.
Add the finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and chopped plumb tomatoes with their juices from the can. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until all vegetables have softened.
Add Swiss chard leaves or spinach leaves. Cook until the greens have wilted.
Serve the soup hot, with grated Parmesan cheese and a loaf of crusty Italian bread.
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelersseries of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
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Chick Pea Soup with Ribs (Ceci con le Costine) for All Souls Day