Pasta and Chickpeas


Pasta e Ceci ( Pasta and Chickpeas) is my favourite Italian comfort food. Economical to make and extremely nourishing, it is a little wet like a soup, but substantial like a meal. Akin to Pasta e Fagioli ( Pasta and beans), I begin to make this dish for lunch once Autumn turns the next dark corner.

There are many versions around, but they are all noted for their simplicity. Don’t feel the need to doctor it or add things. Classic Italian dishes taste so good because of restraint.

The basic recipe

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup EV olive oil
  • one small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • two garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or the equivalent from a can, plus a little juice.
  • salt, pepper
  • a handful of small pasta, for example, small macaroni, digitali, or torn fettucine
  • EV olive oil, to drizzle
  • lots of grated parmigiana

Soak chick peas overnight and cook the following day until done, or use the quick soak method. Drain when cooked.

Add the olive oil to a heavy based soup pot. Fry the soffrito ( the rosemary, garlic and chilli) gently for a minute, then add the tomatoes. Cook for a little, add a splash of water. Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted water, drain, and retain some of the cooking water.

Below- a few soffrito ingredients) ImageAdd the cooked chickpeas to the hot tomato mixture, add salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 cup of pasta water. Heat, then add the cooked pasta. Serve in large, warmed shallow pasta bowls with a drizzle of your best oil and some grated parmigiana cheese. Red wine and bread ? Yes please.Image

23 thoughts on “Pasta and Chickpeas”

  1. Comforting, frugal and healthy – what more could you want?! On my list for next weeks meals. And I do agree, Italian dishes definitely taste well because of restraint. Good ingredients, cooked simply, perfect.


  2. No, I don’t really like the taste of canned ceci, despite lots of rinsing, although I am prepared to use them in a Hummus, where other ingredients help mask that canned taste. Why not the quick soak method? Pop the ceci in a saucepan, cover amply with water. Bring to the boil andlet boil for one minute. Turn off heat, leave for one hour. Then cook them as usual.


  3. That’s so true about Italian cooking – they always show restraint and allow a few well-combined ingredients to shine. I think a big mistake other cultures make when cooking Italian is being too heavy-handed with adding more, more, more. I love the look of this dish and chickpeas and pasta are a lovely combination. I’ll look forward to making this as the days become cooler xx


  4. Oh that soffito looks wonderful … bet the aroma is to die for. Comfort food required year- round! Still chilly enough some days here in England for a nice bowl of pasta and chickpeas!


  5. Da questa parte dell’emisfero stiamo aspettando che la Primavera trionfi e che questi 12 gradi diventino presto 20-22. Come te io adoro fagioli e ceci, con la pasta diventa un primo piatto che mi fa impazzire, che mangerei anche più di una volta a settimana. Il sapore del rosmarino poi esalta ancora di più il sapore dei legumi! che voglia mi hai fatto venire Francesca, bravissima!


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