Pasta e Ceci

5 from 1 vote

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Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas) is very similar to pasta fagioli and one of my favorite Italian dishes to make. It is easy, saucy, comforting and absolutely delicious. “Ceci” simply means chickpeas in Italian. If you grew up with this 🍝 dish, as I know most Italians did, I hope this recipe is comforting and nostalgic for you and that I’m able to transport you back in time. Please let me know in the comments what you do differently as I know every region in 🇮🇹 Italy has a different spin on it.

Why You’ll Love Pasta e Ceci

This Pasta e Ceci recipe is great when you need lunch or dinner on the table fast. It’s Italian simplicity at its best. The 🍅 sauce is wonderfully flavorful on its own, but adding in some hearty chickpeas give it a protein-boost, and makes it so so satisfying. I love this dish with a bit of 🌶️ chili flakes, but definitely feel free to leave them out if you’re serving it to the kids. This is comfort food in a bowl, and I know you’ll make it again and again.

How to Prepare Pasta e Ceci

🔪 Using a sharp knife, dice an onion and mince or finely chop five cloves of garlic.

🫒 In a large pan on the stove add the olive oil and sauté the onions on medium heat until translucent.

🧄 Now, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

🍅 Next, add in the tomato paste and stir.

♨️ Deglaze the pan with a little bit of wine and then let it evaporate.

🧂 Now, add the tomato sauce, salt to taste, and then nestle in the cheese rinds.

🥄 Give everything a stir and let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

💧 In the meantime, add your small pasta of choice to a pot of boiling, salted water.

🥫 After 10 minutes, add the chickpeas to the tomato sauce and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.

💦 Once the noodles are cooked just before al dente, strain them, reserving some pasta water on the side.

🍝 Add the pasta into the sauce along with a ladle of the pasta water as well and stir.

🌿 Take it off the heat, garnish with basil, extra parm on top is optional and enjoy.

Nonna’s Tip 🍝

I always undercook the pasta by a minute or two because it will continue to absorb the liquid when you combine everything together.

Pasta e Ceci

Variations and Substitutions for Pasta e Ceci

  1. If you don’t like chickpeas feel free to leave them out as this makes a delicious 🍝 pasta dish regardless.
  2. You can omit the 🌶️ chili flakes, they’re totally optional.
  3. You do not have to add the Parm rinds but they add a lot of flavour so I always suggest to save and 🧊 freeze the rinds for soups and stews.
  4. You are more than welcome to use 🍅 passata in this Pasta e Ceci recipe as well.
  5. I used Ditali in this recipe, but you can use baby shells or any small pasta you prefer.
  6. You can keep this dish vegetarian as is, or you could also add some diced pancetta to the onion/garlic for extra flavor.

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Common Questions

what kind of tomato sauce do you use?

I use our homemade tomato sauce which only consists of tomatoes salt and basil. If you’re using a jarred sauce please try to find a good quality one at the store with minimal ingredients.

what type of pasta did you use in this pasta e ceci?

I used Ditali, but you can use any small pasta you like, such as baby shells, macaroni, or orzo. Just make sure to cook it to al dente as directed.

does this pasta e ceci dish reheat well?

When you are reheating this dish, loosen it up a bit with some water and then heat it up.

what can i add instead of chickpeas?

You can use other beans such as cannellini beans, navy beans, or even lentils if you prefer.

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

This Pasta e Ceci recipe is great when you need lunch or dinner on the table fast. It's Italian simplicity at its best. The sauce is wonderfully flavorful on its own, but adding in some hearty chickpeas give it a protein-boost, and makes it so satisfying.
5 from 1 vote
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • chilli flakes, optional
  • ¼ cup white wine , or veggie broth (I used a Reisling)
  • 1 litre plain tomato sauce , 4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1-2 parmigiano cheese rind , optional
  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas , (1 small can)
  • 2 cups pastina , I used Ditali but you can use baby shells or any small pasta you like — boiled in salted water to al-dente
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 5-6 leaves basil, for garnish
  • grated parmesean cheese, optional to sprinkle on top

Instructions 

  • In a big pan or a pot on the stove add the olive oil and sauté the onions on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. If you wanted to add diced pancetta for extra flavour to the onions you are more than welcome to.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of wine or even broth and let it evaporate for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce, salt to taste, and nestle in the cheese rinds.
  • Give it a stir and let it go on low heat for about 10 minutes. In the meantime boil any small pasta of choice in boiling salted water. Make sure you boil it to al dente so it’s not mushy and has a bite to it. After 10 minutes add the chickpeas to the tomato sauce and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the pasta is done you can strain it and reserve some pasta water on the side. Add the pasta into the sauce with a ladle of the pasta water and stir. Take it off the heat, garnish with basil, extra parm on top is optional and enjoy.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 1851mg, Potassium: 1163mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 1232IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have never cooked with cheese rinds. Do they completely melt into the sauce, or do they need to be removed at the end of cooking?

    1. Hi Naomi, as long as you use Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds, which are stamped on the rind, the cheese will not melt, but it will infuse the dish with wonderful parm flavor. You can remove and discard the rind at the end of cooking.

  2. Not sure if I’m reading this right, but how much Ceci do you need? And when do you add them in? Recipe feels like it’s missing a step or am I not following it right?