Pasta e ceci is simply Italian pasta with chick peas. Similar to pasta e fagioli, but instead of beans, garbanzo beans are used. It’s an inexpensive, nutritious, delicious, and comforting meal.
If you serve this comforting pasta e ceci dish to anyone, there’s an extremely good chance that they will ask for seconds.
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It’s really that delicious.
Pasta in Brodo vs Pastasciutta
As stated above, pasta e ceci simply translates from Italian to pasta and chickpeas. You can make it soupy, or “in brodo” (in broth) as I show here, or you can drain all the pasta water and make it “dry”, too. “Pastascuitta” is what it is called in Italian, but it’s not to be taken literally, in that it’s a dry (in an unappealing way) pasta dish. Instead, it’s a way of communicating that it’s not a soupy pasta.
This pasta carbonara would be considered a “pastasciutta” dish.
See, you learn something new everyday.
What Type of Pasta is Used for Pasta e Ceci?
The ring shape I used for this pasta e ceci recipe is called anelli Siciliani (Sicilian rings), and it’s one of my absolute favorites because its got a really nice bite to it! You’d use the same types of pasta as you would for pasta e fagioli.
Pasta e Ceci is a Cucina Povera Dish (Don’t Over- Complicate it)
If you’ve read some of my older recipes, you’ll surely have come across some cucina povera recipes. These recipes are mostly from Southern Italy, which historically has been more poor than Northern Italy. The poor part is the reason for calling it, “poor cooking” or “poor kitchen”. Not much meat, or many expensive ingredients go into cucina povera dishes.
Stretching foods to make them feed more mouths is what it’s all about, so this authentic Italian pasta e ceci recipe calls for only three ingredients, pasta, sauce and garbanzo beans. It’s a peasant dish, so don’t be duped by recipes that make it out to be something exotic, fancy or that call for loads of ingredients. Here’s a 4 ingredient rapini pasta that is quick, easy, and nutritious, too!
As an alternative, you can drain the pasta completely as you would normally, and add more sauce and the chick peas, for the pastasciutta version.
Pasta with chick peas is one of the simplest, easiest, quickest, most inexpensive and delicious weeknight meals you can make.
It’s even better if you add some grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP or Pecorino Romano DOP, however, these cheeses are pricey in the US, so it’s completely optional if you’re making this as a budget meal (or if you’re vegan). You’re better off skipping the cheese rather than using the stuff in the green can, too.
For the little Parmigiano Reggiano wheel bowl. ⬅️
Why You Should Make Pasta e Ceci
- It’s super quick to make: it’s ready in the time it takes to cook pasta.
- Chick peas and pasta is a one pot meal.
- It costs pennies a serving, so it is very inexpensive.
- It feeds a crowd on one pound of pasta and one (or two) cans of chick peas (serves 10).
- It’s nutritious: using good quality Italian pasta, homemade sauce and chick peas, it’s a healthy dish.
- Pasta and garbanzo beans is incredibly tasty.
- Children love it!
- It fits many special diets including: vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, Alpha-gal, and nut-free.
- Pasta e ceci is an Italian comfort food meal, and warms you up, especially in winter.
- If you keep pasta sauce in your fridge, it’s a pantry meal (with pasta and canned chick peas).
Pasta e Ceci Recipe
a classic cucina povera dish passed down from my Nonna Chiarina serves 5
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
- garbanzo beans
- pasta sauce (do not use a can of tomato sauce)
- (optional: Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano)
Cook the pasta as directed in well-salted water.
About few minutes before the pasta is ready, drain enough water so that the pasta is level with the liquid in the pot and return to the cooktop. Add the chick peas.
It will look like this.
Next add the pasta sauce, and keep cooking and stirring the chick peas and pasta.
Add enough sauce so that it’s not too watery and the flavor is to your liking. Don’t be afraid to keep re-tasting.
Once the flavor is to your liking (you may need to add salt), bring it to a boil and then it’s ready to serve.
Sprinkle with grated cheese if desired.
Now just wait for everyone to ask for seconds once they finish their bowls!
Let me know what you think below!
- 1 tsp salt for the pasta water
- 8 oz pasta
- 1 can or 14 oz garbanzo beans
- 8 oz or more (to taste) pasta sauce - recipe card below (do not use a can of tomato sauce/passata)
- (optional: Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano)
- Cook the pasta as directed in well-salted water.
- About few minutes before the pasta is ready, drain enough water so that the pasta is level with the liquid in the pot and return to the cooktop. Add the chick peas.
- Next add the pasta sauce, and keep cooking and stirring the chick peas and pasta.
- Add enough sauce so that it's not too watery and the flavor is to your liking. Don't be afraid to keep re-tasting. Once the flavor is to your liking (you may need to add salt), bring it to a boil and then it's ready to serve.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese if desired.
Omit the cheese for vegan pasta.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 267Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 5 cloves fresh garlic (not in a jar, dried, powdered, or frozen) preferably grown in USA/Europe
- small bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (my family likes to use parsley in sugo)
- 1 (28-32 oz) about 800g carton/jar of whole, chopped tomatoes or puree (like Mutti, or Bionaturae) any tomatoes listed on the Greatest Tomatoes from Europe site will be fantastic or about 1 lb of fresh tomatoes (San Marzano, Roma or cherry tomatoes are great)
- about 1 1/2 level tsp sea salt
- 3 or 4 large leaves of fresh basil, more to add to each plate, if desired
- Pour the oil into a large saute pan (not a deep pot) over medium high heat. Crush the garlic and add it to the oil (if you want a spicy sauce, you can add some hot pepper, fresh or flakes, at this point). Saute the garlic until it just starts to brown, then add the parsley.
- Turn the heat up to high. Now add the tomatoes, and quickly cover with the lid for about 30 seconds, until the squirting subsides. Stir with a wooden spoon and lower the heat a little. It is important that this sauce is cooked at a fast simmer, as it is cooked briefly.
- Add the salt and continue to simmer at a fast pace, and stir often.
- The sauce will thicken quickly, so do not overcook it, and have it become too thick; about 5 to 7 minutes should be sufficient.
- Taste the sauce, if it doesn't taste delicious, it probably just needs a little more salt. Turn off the heat and add the fresh basil (I tear mine into pieces). Also, unless absolutely necessary, do not wash your basil. Wipe it with a damp paper towel instead, so the water doesn't ruin the flavor and aroma.
- Use as desired.
- To enjoy with pasta as soon as the sauce is ready, put a large pot of salted water on the cooktop over high heat and cook the pasta as directed (if you are using egg or a very quick cooking pasta, do this about half-way through these directions).
- Add drained pasta to the sauce (save some pasta water to add back into the pasta in case it's too dry), and enjoy immediately.
- Also, if you've been plating pasta in a bowl, then topping it with sauce, this is American-style. If you want to serve it the way they do in Italy, mix the sauce in, and then plate it. You will 100% taste the difference.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 498mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is only an estimate.
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