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Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Pasta e ceci 1

We all need emergency meals some days. I’ve been eyeing this – a soupy sort of one pot pasta that’s a staple in Rome, and the sort of humble home-cooked meal that intrigues me most about visiting such a place. (Although yes, I would also make the trip just for the pizza.) As with most staples of this kind, there are as many variations as there are people who make it. This particular version is cooked quickly on the stovetop, pasta and all, which allows the starch from the pasta to thicken the sauce. It works-truly. I brought it in to CBC this morning as an example of the sort of last-minute I-don’t-know-what’s-for-dinner emergency meal you can rummage through your pantry for and eat in 20 minutes rather than give in to take out.

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Choose a small shape that cooks quickly, or use broken lasagna noodles if you have a few left at the end of the box, or a bunch of different small pasta shapes tossed in together if you have a few kinds to get rid of. If you have a Parmesan rind around, toss that into the pot too— and don’t be afraid to add a sprig of rosemary, a chopped carrot, a bit of crumbled sausage or anything else you think would be delicious. In fact, I’m already plotting to add a handful of cheese to the mix.

Although there are hundreds of similar versions out there, I took direction from Deb’s Smitten Kitchen (recognizing those small pasta hoops, called anellini, which I had a quarter bag of in the back of the cupboard), who took hers from Rachel Roddy at the Guardian.

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

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April 11, 2018


a generous drizzle of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1/4 cup tomato paste or 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or passata

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

a good grind of black pepper

1 15 or 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 1/2-2 cups)

1/2 cup (or a handful) small pasta, like small shells, ditalini or little hoops

2 cups hot water (put the kettle on to boil if you want to speed things up

for garnish:

good olive oil, warmed if you like with a clove of garlic, bit of chopped rosemary and/or pinch of red chili flakes



1In a deep skillet or heavy pot, heat the olive oil with the garlic until it starts to smell wonderfully garlicky. Add the tomatoes (careful, it might splatter) and salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the chickpeas, pasta and water and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sauce is uniform. Turn the heat down and let it simmer away for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and much of the liquid is reduced and absorbed.

2If you like, warm a bit of olive oil on the stove with a crushed clove of garlic, about half a sprig of chopped rosemary or a pinch of chili flakes and drizzle it overtop with the Parmesan; otherwise just add a drizzle of straight-up olive oil. Serves 2 generously.


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15 comments on “Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

  1. rospher
    April 20, 2018 at 1:30 am

    Wow spicy. It is looking great and getting wonderful intrigues also. Good and very nice pasta. I like this to eat. The rummage and emergency meal is ready for the relations. The small shape of cooks and get few minutes to make this. The cheese is used for this. More delicious an getting good ingredients also. The pasta hoops and noodles are getting more taste and children mostly liked it. I can make noodle in my home as very tastily. Thanks for your post

  2. Rajdoot Restaurant
    May 5, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Craving For Indian Food in Calgary? Try Rajdoot Restaurant. Rajdoot has been a leading provider of Indian cuisine, and a preferred venue amongst Calgary based East Indian Restaurants, for many years.


  3. stacey snacks
    May 7, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I make this all the time….but add rosemary……makes the dish sing! It’s the best and so simple.

    • Julie
      May 7, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Sounds like a brilliant addition!

  4. Rajdoot Restaurant
    May 15, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Craving For Indian Food in Calgary? Try Rajdoot Restaurant. Rajdoot has been a leading

    provider of Indian cuisine, and a referred venue amongst Calgary based East

    Indian Restaurants, for many years.


  5. Jahad
    May 21, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    does this taste spicy ?

    • Julie
      May 22, 2018 at 10:33 am

      No! Just dial back any spices if you’d like it less so.

  6. Jess
    April 9, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I love this recipe! The first time I made it the pasta stuck to the bottom of the pan, so now I coat it with the garlicky oil, risotto-style, before adding the rest of the ingredients. I don’t bother with with the chile flakes or rosemary, but finishing with a glug of decent olive oil makes all the difference!

  7. Leila Rigaux
    September 24, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I make this quite often and make sure I have chickpeas in the pantry just because of it. I admit to adding bacon at times. I’ll substitute whatever I have tomato-wise.

  8. Lucy Weir
    February 10, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Just made this on a very cold night in Ireland, didn’t have pasta so used noodles, and used a spicy tomato pasta sauce instead of tomatoes. It worked pretty well. We had some cheese which I didn’t realise had chilli in it, but we used that as a topping. Overall, I feel like a student again but really quick, really delicious and I used way too much garlic (it’s antiviral, baby, and I ain’t kissing anyone else tonight…) so I stink. But I feel full, and it was delicious, and I feel like a Roman on my second bottle of wine! Thank you!

    • Julie
      February 11, 2020 at 9:48 pm

      Nice! I need to have this again… with wine!

  9. Antony44
    April 1, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Thanks for the quick and tasty pasta recipe, my family and I really liked it! Thanks for a piece of Italy on my desk!

  10. Robby24
    April 17, 2020 at 12:33 am

    I prepared this pasta for dinner yesterday, I had no time and desire to cook something for a long time, and your recipe was just a find for me. My family really liked it, very tasty and fast!

    • Julie
      April 19, 2020 at 10:14 am

      That’s so great to hear!!

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