pasta ceci

May 27th, 2009 · 298 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

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