What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pasta e Ceci

What's Cooking WednesdayToday’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe is a new one around this house (but already a favorite!); it’s based on a variety of recipes around the Internet, and it’s another easy, delicious soup that will impress–just like we like ’em!

And even better, pasta e ceci or pasta and chickpeas (“ceci” is pronounced CHEH-chee by the way) is a great cold weather dish and completely adjustable according to your tastes; you can make it as thick or thin as you like and add whatever spices strike your fancy, from basil to rosemary to thyme.

Below is my basic recipe, but feel free to experiment!

Pasta e Ceci
(Pasta and Chickpeas)

(makes 2 big bowls of soup)

Pasta e ceci

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped or shredded
1 peperoncino (or hot pepper flakes)
1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 cups weakly flavored chicken stock or water

1 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup dried soup pasta (something small)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in pot large enough to hold soup and add onion, garlic, carrot, peperoncino, and rosemary. Cook on low heat until translucent, between 10 and 15 minutes (don’t let this burn).

2. Take out rosemary, which I do because we like a subtle rosemary flavor in this. You’re welcome to keep it in.

3. Add chicken stock and chickpeas and simmer for a half hour.

4. Take out about half the chickpeas and crush into a paste (to thicken the soup). You can do this with a blender/food processor, but I just use the back of a big spoon–fewer dishes (which means less water used to wash them!) and less electricity too. Plus, I’m lazy and this saves me from getting out my handheld mixer, which is annoying to clean. Add this mixture to the soup.

5. At this point, test for salt; this will also let you know how much salt you should put in the water with the pasta.

6. About the pasta, I prepare it separately and then combine the two in serving dishes, but most recipes prepare the pasta right inside the soup. I prefer my way so that if there are leftovers, the pasta doesn’t soak up all the broth (I’ve mentioned this before).

7. After combining pasta and soup, stir in parsley.

8. Serve hot with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Buon appetito!

29 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pasta e Ceci”
  1. Robyn
    10.24.2007

    Thanks for the recipe, Songnatrice. Now I’m about to tag you. You may not want to play but I think people I know would love to find your blog.du

  2. sognatrice
    10.24.2007

    Robyn, ooh! Looking forward to the tag!

  3. Judith in Umbria
    10.24.2007

    Yum! I’ve never used broth, but it would make it quicker, I think. I start with a sofritto and then water, which becomes a veg broth. I also use up the scraps from making pasta usually, unless I haven’t made any since the last time. But this is a really favorite dish and there’s a cafe in town that does it fabulously — better than mone!

  4. sognatrice
    10.24.2007

    Judith, lucky you! I’ve never seen this on a menu around here, but I wish I did…would be interesting to try different versions without having to make them all myself. The next time I make it, I’m going to add celery and just use water. Looking forward to it!

  5. nyc/caribbean ragazza
    10.24.2007

    all I have to say is…I’m hungry!

  6. Lisa Milton
    10.24.2007

    Mmm, looks great. I think this needs to come stateside. (You always have the best recipes.)

  7. Joe
    10.24.2007

    How funny … that’s what I made for dinner last night. Mine still doesn’t taste like my Dad’s yet so I think I’ll try your recipe … Thanks.

  8. sognatrice
    10.24.2007

    NYC, buon appetito!

    Lisa, thanks so much! I hope you give this one a go πŸ™‚

    Joe, well I can’t promise that it’s “Dad good,” but it’s always interesting to try other versions, right?

  9. Eryn
    10.24.2007

    i like this one…….usually i have to go out for a few of the unique incredients, but not this one.

    maybe i’ll make it tonight, i may try substituting canneloni beans for chickpeas!

    grazie!

  10. A Novelist
    10.24.2007

    What fun! And thanks for the yummy recipe. I can’t wait to try it! πŸ˜‰

  11. Figs Olives Wine
    10.24.2007

    Wonderful soup! I love pasta e ceci, and you’re so right about the thickness! It’s good to mix it up depending on the temperature/ time of day. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  12. Beth
    10.24.2007

    I swear I was meant to be Italian!

  13. My Melange
    10.24.2007

    Soup, soup and more soup!!!! Keep ’em coming! Now that the fall is here I get soup obsessed! Though, I always prefer my soups thick, more like stew…. Hey, there are worse things to be obsessed about!

  14. Karina
    10.24.2007

    You were right about that vocab. game, it was totally addictive. And all for a good cause! Sweet!

    Oh, and the soup looks good too. I love soup! I’m also still planning on making your carrot cake this weekend. I’ll let you know if I do.

    About the pumpkins, I’d send you one if I could. I went to a festival this past weekend where there were 100’s of thousands of carved pumpkins…it was crazy. I’ll have more pictures tomorrow. But go back and take a look at my WW picture again…there’s a hidden message in it.

  15. amanda
    10.24.2007

    Delicious! This is one of my fav soups, there is a great restaurant in Chuisi that makes it, listed on one of my earliest posts. I’ve never made it myself but you have inspired me. Off to kitchen right now.

  16. sognatrice
    10.24.2007

    Eryn, that’s how I first made this soup–finding everything in the cupboards/fridge already. Hope it goes well πŸ™‚

    Novelist, be sure to let me know how it turns out!

    Amanda, don’t you just love versatility?

    Beth, Italians love honorary citizens πŸ˜‰

    Robin, yes, there are absolutely worse things to be obsessed about…I’ll see what I can do to get more soups up on here.

    Karina, I’ve gone back and looked at that photo–so cute πŸ™‚

    Amanda, this is so easy, it’s definitely worth a try!

  17. Kaffeebohne
    10.24.2007

    I love pasta e ceci. We had it last sunday and even my two kids enjoyed eating it.

  18. The Passionate Palate
    10.24.2007

    This is one of my favorite soups and one of our favorite go-to comfort foods. I never added carrots before, but now I will.

  19. mental mosaic
    10.24.2007

    Hoooboy! That freerice *is* addictive! I had to tear myself away… Thanks for the link. πŸ™‚

  20. Jeni
    10.25.2007

    I’m not normally really big on soups but I gotta say, this one sounds good to me. But then, I do LOVE pasta flavored with a broth of some type so that maybe makes it what appeals to me there.

  21. sognatrice
    10.25.2007

    Kaffeebohne, kid friendly! Yeah!

    Jeni, to be honest, carrots weren’t my first thought either, but when I started looking around the Internet, I saw that many recipes added them. So I went with it. Mmm….

    MM, I knew someone else would find it addictive!

    Jeni, and the chickpeas give it an extra special kick; I hope you’ll try it πŸ™‚

  22. chris & erin
    10.26.2007

    yay! This was a GREAT recipe. we made it tonight and really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  23. Jen of A2eatwrite
    10.26.2007

    Thanks for spreading the word about rice, and the pasta dish looks lovely!

  24. Shan
    10.27.2007

    This looks great! I’ll have to give it a try.

  25. sognatrice
    10.30.2007

    Erin, so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚

    Jen, oh I had no choice but to spread the rice word…to fun!

    Shan, I hope you give it a go πŸ™‚

  26. Miss Eliza
    10.30.2007

    This soup is fabulous… and I didn’t even think I liked garbanzos! Thanks for the marvelous addition to our house repertoire!

  27. sognatrice
    10.30.2007

    Miss Eliza, I hear you! I never thought I really liked those little ones until I had hummus, and then I went from there…now I’m falling in love πŸ˜‰

  28. 09.27.2008

    I’ve had pasta con fave, pasta con lenticchie, pasta con fagioli misti and plain zuppa con pastina, but never pasta e ceci. It sounds delicious! The weather has just turned here (it actually changed ON the equinox), so it’s time to start breaking out the fall foods.

    pizzocalabro’s last blog post..Some Conversations Are More Fun to Overhear Than to Experience

    You’ll love this, I promise πŸ™‚

  29. David Carmosino
    08.04.2009

    Ahh!! I love pasta e ceci!! My dad makes this sometimes!

    So tasty and easy!

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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