pasta ceci

May 27th, 2009 · 30 Comments

every now and then a dish comes along that knocks me out. and i don’t even mean anything complicated. just a simple plate of food that satisfies you on some primal level – food that is almost soulful. like this ‘pasta. to. die. for’. it’s barely even cooking, yet it blows my mind every time i make it. and now, this pasta ceci. i mean, where have you been all my life? all those trips to italy – all those italian dinners and piles of books – somehow i’ve missed you. but now i know, and it’s all with thanks to rachel, an english woman living in rome who authors the beautiful blog, ‘rachel eats‘.

rarely do i ever cook things twice. perhaps mostly because my cooking tends to be experimental or often just a curiosity – or i don’t remember what i even did to ever redo it. but this pasta ceci? this will be made often. after all, we’re talking both pasta AND (rancho gordo) beans…

pasta ceci
rachel eats

first and foremost, i doubled this recipe and i’m glad to have had the foresight to do so. i highly recommend doing this and freezing some. i used red onions, extra tomato paste and i used my chicken stock to supplement the liquid.

serves 4

250g dried chickpeas soaked overnight and then simmered for 2 hours until tender or 450g tinned chickpeas
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
medium carrot peeled and finely diced
stick of celery finely diced
mild onion peeled and finely diced
2 tbsp tomato concentrate
small sprig of rosemary
500ml vegetable or chicken stock or water the chickpeas were cooked in with more plain water added to make up the 500ml if necessary.
optional – 500ml extra water or stock for if you cook the pasta in the soup.
parmesan rind
salt and freshly ground black pepper
225g small dried tubular pasta
your nicest oil for on top

prepare your soffrito of finely chopped onion, carrot and celery, sauteing them gently and slowly in the oil in a large heavy based pan until soft and floppy and translucent.
then you add the tomato concentrate and a sprig of rosemary, stir, and then add 2/3 of your cooked chickpeas.
stir again and then cover everything with stock or water, throw in a parmesan rind. bring the pan to a happy boil, reduce to a simmer and then leave the pan to bubble away gently for about 20 minutes.
now remove the rind and rosemary and pass everything through the mouli or give it a blast with the hand blender to create a smooth gloopy soup.
now you add the rest of the cooked chickpeas and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
now the two choices:
1. you can either add some more water or stock to the soup, bring it to the boil and cook your pasta directly in the soup
2. you can cook your pasta separately in some fast boiling salted water and then add it to the soup, then let things rest for about 5 minutes so the flavours mingle.

serve dribbled with more extra virgin olive oil and some freshly grated parmesan..


everything i needed was already in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry except for the ditalini pasta which i could have substituted with any number of the other pastas that are currently shelved…

but i never said i was completely cured, now did i?


Tags: beans · pasta

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donald // May 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    A new and delicious way to incorporate RG garbanzos!!!!!!!!!!

    I love it; a lil simmerin’ goes a long way.

  • 2 Melissa // May 27, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Yep. I printed this out from her site when you mentioned it the other day on Facebook. I know well enough to take heed when you get nutty about a dish. ;) Really, I can’t wait to try this.

  • 3 Rachel (S[d]OC) // May 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Interesting. It’s a new twist on pasta fagioli.

    I love finding a recipe that I just love and want to make over and over.

    I really do have to check out Rancho Gordo! I’ve been meanign to do so for months.

  • 4 Lauren // May 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    um, since that’s going to be a repeater, i’m requesting an invite for it’s next appearance. that looks like my kinda dish. pasta, beans…dare i say, yummy.

  • 5 Becky and the Beanstock // May 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Well aren’t you prolific??? : ) I’ll catch up…. Today’s ought to count for six, anyway.

    This looks so simple, but the ingredients are all exactly right. Even I can make it since it’s veggie friendly. You are, very impressively, cleaning out your pantry, as promised. But what if there’s a natural disaster? Swine flu?? (Sorry…) Can’t wait to try this one.

  • 6 CeeElCee // May 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    And you practically named it after me! Looks great. I have to get on this Rancho Gordo bandwagon. Could you send me a list of 3-4 starter beans to begin my repertoire?

  • 7 The Italian Dish // May 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Such a classic dish. And totally healthy. Wise woman to make extra and freeze it.

  • 8 katiek @kitchensidecar // May 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    wow. this looks great and stewy, but not too heavy. Nice transition into summer.

    I also just bought some dried chickpeas with no direction as to what to cook. great option…

  • 9 rach // May 27, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    That plateful looks pretty perfect. Maybe one day we will eat this together.
    UMM check out the nice oil going on here…

  • 10 Amy at Minimally Invasive // May 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this. I adore chickpeas, but really needed a new platform for them.

  • 11 maybelles mom // May 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    oh, my Belle loves, loves, loves chickpeas. (she ain’t the usual 2 year old.) I will get my hubby to make this for her.

  • 12 maggie (p&c) // May 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Oh yeah, love this stuff. Great to have around in individual servings for lunch and stuff, good garnished with torn basil too.

  • 13 Peter // May 27, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Man, I already left a comment on the original post and now I have to do it again? Jeez.

    And even though I just ate, I could still murder a bowl of that right now.

  • 14 Heidi Robb // May 27, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I made this too with my Rancho Gordos. Simple and perfect.

  • 15 Ethel // May 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    This soup with crusty bread and I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Can you Fed Ex overnight a container please ?

  • 16 sarah // May 28, 2009 at 7:51 am

    how beautiful! simple! and with such humble ingredients!

    i look forward to making this, though doubling the recipe won’t be an option for me and my freezerless fridge… boo

  • 17 Lesley // May 28, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I love that this can be so easily vegetarian. And a really good protein to carb ration, it seems. So it’s delicious and good for you. This, I like.

  • 18 chefectomy // May 28, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    No question about it, simple is always the best…and thanks for the intro to Rachael, I go check her out now…


  • 19 Fawn // May 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    First time commenting. Hiya.

    A great rendition. I love this. I make it often but with just a touch of pork. So sue me…

  • 20 Michelle @ Find Your Balance // May 29, 2009 at 9:57 am

    mmmm it’s so cold in Boston today and that photo warmed me up :-)

  • 21 Tira // May 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Mmm!! That looks just like my Italian Grandfather makes it! I have been looking for this recipe, but he just called it “past” so i had no idea where to begin looking! Luck me to subscribe to your blog!

  • 22 Sarah Crow // May 30, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I’m going to make that today… it looks like SERIOUS comfort food!

  • 23 lo // May 30, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    This is so perfect, it might persuade me to make up a batch of soup… even now that the weather is warming. And that’s an accomplishment.

  • 24 Claudia // May 30, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I made this last night – had copied it to my recipe file when she posted it a few weeks ago. It was sooo good. I used the Umbrian Cicerchia type chickpeas and some of my duck stock.

  • 25 We Are Never Full // May 31, 2009 at 9:54 am

    loved it on her blog and love it on yours – when i saw it i knew it was your kind of dish. it’s actually not soup weather anymore but this is a dish that trancends seasons.

  • 26 goodfoodmatters // Jun 5, 2009 at 5:16 am

    thank you thank you for this one–simple perfect food—and the connection to rachel and her lovely blog

  • 27 zoe // Jun 5, 2009 at 8:06 am

    This is a great soup. Ultimate comfort food.

  • 28 Bren // Jun 12, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    this looks so much like our potaje de garbanzo. i love it, even tho im’ not a huge pasta fan! :)

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