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Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas) Recipe

This easy, delicious pasta e ceci recipe (pasta with chickpeas) is, simply put, a vegetarian’s dream. There is something incredibly appealing about finding simple, one-pot, vegetarian dishes that have been the staple of certain cultures and cuisines for generations. This Italian comfort food classic can be on the table within 20 minutes and enjoyed year-round.

a small white bowl of pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) topped with vegetarian Pecorino cheese, fresh parsley, and black pepper

I’ve loved cooking pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) for my toddler and I for a while now – it’s a simple, easy, and balanced meal that we both take a lot of joy from. This pasta e ceci recipe is very similar but replaces the creamy beans with chickpeas instead.

I loved reading Rachel Roddy’s article in the Guardian on this classic Italian fare, and her way of capturing the simple beauty of this dish – wholesome, hearty, and good for the soul – is exactly the feeling I get when incorporating it into my own family’s weekly meal plan.

More one-pot bean and pasta recipes you might also like include these creamy butter beans, these red pesto beans, or this one-pot gnocchi alla vodka.

Ingredient Notes

The exact quantities of the ingredients you need for this recipe are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here, I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you need, plus a few potential substitutions you could make if you can’t eat/find a certain ingredient.

pasta e ceci ingredients overhead shot: pecorino cheese, garlic, fresh rosemary, vegetable stock, dry white wine, tomato paste, ditalini pasta, chickpeas
  • Chickpeas: I’m sure many people will confirm that cooking your chickpeas from scratch results in a much better flavor and texture in this recipe and any other chickpea dish. I’ll be honest – I’ve never found the time to do this myself, so tinned chickpeas it is.
  • Pasta: I used the traditional pasta shape used for this pasta e ceci – ditalini. Ditalini is a small, rigatoni-shaped pasta that is essentially the same size as the chickpeas, making it the exact right size to scoop up a perfectly blended spoonful of the dish.
  • White Onion: I used finely diced white onion as the base for this recipe. For more vegetables, adding in some diced carrot and celery for a full sofrita would be lovely.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is a must for this recipe. I used two large cloves, but I am nothing if not a garlic lover. Adjust to suit your tastes.
  • Olive Oil: A good quality olive oil really does make a difference to the overall taste of this dish, especially as there are so few ingredients. If you don’t have any, though, vegetable oil will also do just fine.
  • Tomato Paste: We’ll use a tablespoon or so of tomato paste (tomato puree in the UK) to add flavor and color to the brothy sauce for this recipe.
  • Rosemary: The addition of a finely diced sprig of rosemary (stem removed) adds a delicious summery, herby element to the pasta.
  • White Wine: Likewise, I love how the slightly acidic white wine elevates the sauce in this pasta e ceci and helps to deglaze the pan. Use any brand you have – although ideally a dry white wine.
  • Vegetable Stock: I mix a vegetable stock cube with boiling water until I have the right quantity.
  • Pecorino Cheese: Pecorino cheese has a very similar taste to Parmesan and is a must for finishing this recipe off perfectly. If you are vegan, feel free to simply omit this component to make this recipe plant-based.

How To Make This Pasta e Ceci Recipe

Again, the exact step-by-step instructions and ingredient quantities will be in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. 

Below is an overview of making this recipe, plus some process shots to help you visualize how this recipe should turn out.

a white bowl of pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) topped with parsley and pecorino cheese

Step 1) Saute Onion & Garlic

To start, saute the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes until it’s softened and beginning to turn translucent. Then, add in the garlic, rosemary, and chili flakes and bloom for another minute.

Step 2) Add the Tomato Paste & Then Deglaze

Next, add your tomato paste to the pan and cook it for a minute or two until the paste turns deep red and releases it’s fragrance. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.

Step 3) Add Stock & Chickpeas

Add in the vegetable stock and the drained tinned chickpeas. Use the back of your spoon to gently crush some of the chickpeas to help thicken the sauce. 

Step 4) Pasta & Simmer

Tip your pasta into the pan, stir, and simmer until the pasta is al dente (a minute or two less than stated on the package instructions). Grate in your Pecorinio, stir it in rapidly to melt the cheese into the sauce, then serve.

Top each bowl with more black pepper and Pecorino cheese to taste.

Storing Leftover Pasta e Ceci

If you have leftovers, simply store the pasta e ceci in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving.

You could also freeze your leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

a close up shot of a fresh bowl of pasta and chickpeas (pasta e ceci) topped with fresh parsley, lit up in the sunshine

FAQs

What does Pasta e Ceci mean?

Pasta e ceci literally translates to pasta with chickpeas. It’s classic Italian, budget-friendly, simple comfort food at it’s finest.

Where does Pasta e Ceci originate from?

Pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) is a common pasta dish originating from South and Central Italy, and is a part of the peasant cuisine tradition – “cucina povera” in Italian cuisine.

Can I use dried chickpeas?

Yes, you can absolutely use dried chickpeas for this recipe. Simply soak and cook your chickpeas before using them (and the broth you cooked the chickpeas in) in this recipe.

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas) Recipe

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas) Recipe

Yield: 2-3 portions
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This pasta e ceci recipe (pasta with chickpeas) is simple, budget-friendly vegetarian Italian comfort food at its finest. Ready in less than 20 minutes with basic pantry ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 120g ditalini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 diced sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • 0.25 tsp chili flakes
  • 60ml dry white wine or white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • 30g grated Pecorino
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat your olive oil in a skillet and fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the diced rosemary and chili flakes, followed by the tomato paste soon after (60 seconds for the chili flakes to bloom).
  2. Add the white wine, cook down for a couple of minutes, then add the chickpeas and stock, and while the chickpeas simmer for a few minutes, crush about ¼ of them with the back of your spoon to help thicken the sauce.
  3. Stir in the uncooked pasta and stir the pot frequently until the pasta is al dente (~6-7 minutes).
  4. Add the Pecorino cheese and stir it into the sauce to melt the cheese and turn it into a creamy sauce.
  5. Dish up your pasta e ceci into bowls, season with more black pepper and cheese, and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil, chili flakes, and fresh parsley.

Notes

This is a versatile dish that can be made in a variety of ways. You could add carrots and celery to the vegetable sofrito, you could use a different pasta shape, substitute the chickpeas for beans (for pasta e fagioli), use fresh cherry tomatoes instead of tomato paste, or add more vegetables for a heartier stew version of this recipe.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 448Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 1165mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 11gSugar: 11gProtein: 22g

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