This Italian pasta e ceci, or Italian pasta with chickpeas, is the best one-pot family meal you can cook in less than 30 minutes. It’s budget-friendly, vegan, packed with protein, it comes together super fast and nicely warms you up!
It’s one of those easy recipes that transform cheap cupboard essentials into delicious and healthy meals that everyone loves.
Once you sauté the garlic, diced vegetables (soffritto), and rosemary in olive oil, you just dump the chickpeas, the water and bring to a boil. Then puree part of the chickpeas, stir in pasta and cook gently while the stew simmers.
The result is a pot of creamy pasta with chickpeas with a hint of rosemary, absolutely delicious. It has been one of my favorite weeknight meals since I was a child.
If you’re looking for a fast and filling pasta recipe, this is it!
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Canned chickpeas
- Onion, carrot, celery (soffritto)
- Olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Potato (optional)
- Salt & pepper
HOW TO MAKE PASTA E CECI
Chopping the carrot, onion, celery, garlic and then…
- Saute’ these vegetables and rosemary in olive oil
- Stir in chickpeas, a cubed potato, and a pinch of salt
- Add water or broth, and cook for 10 minutes
- Remove rosemary and blend half of the chickpeas
- Return it to the pot
- Add pasta and simmer until cooked
- Pasta will gradually absorb the water
- Stir often, adding as much water as needed
- Adjust the seasoning and serve with ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil
HEALTHY, EASY AND BUDGET-FRIENDLY
If you need a filling family meal ready in less than 30 minutes, look no further.
This pot of warming pasta e ceci with chickpeas will cost you less than $ 1.20 per serving and makes a delicious and balanced meal.
And it’s so good!
ARE CHICKPEAS HEALTHY?
YES. Chickpeas are nutrient-dense food rich in protein and fiber. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, people who regularly consume chickpeas have higher intakes of several key nutrients. These include fiber, vitamins A, E and C, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, and antioxidants. Yes, plenty of chickpeas then!
RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
Pasta e ceci is a popular and simple Italian recipe. It looks more like a stew than a soup, where pasta cooks while the stew simmers. In Italy, this is the way we cook pasta with pulses. The classic pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) or pasta e lenticchie (pasta and lentils) are cooked in the same way.
Basically, the liquid is minimized and is added gradually to the pasta, which absorbs it completely and retains its starch. And you want to stir often until the water is absorbed, otherwise, it will stick to the bottom of the pot and start to scorch.
Keep in mind that the quantity of liquid stated in the recipe card is just an estimate. You might want to add or to reduce the amount of water according to the type of pasta.
Plus, cooking pasta, chickpeas, and the soffritto base (mix of vegetables) in a smaller amount of liquid delivers more flavor to the dish!
WHAT IS A SOFFRITTO MIX?
In Italy, this is a classic flavorsome base for almost anything cooked on the stove. Basically, “soffritto” is a mix of diced carrots, onion, celery that can be slowly sautéed in a bit of olive oil until golden and sweet.
Please, if you have carrot, onion, and celery on hand, do not to skip this step : )
HOW TO MAKE A DELICIOUS PASTA E CECI?
There’re many recipes of this pasta with chickpeas, but I love cooking mine thick, creamy and flavorsome.
Here there’re a few tips:
- Start with a soffritto base
- Cook pasta and chickpeas together, all in one pot, not separately!
- Puree some of the chickpeas and cook pasta in this creamy soup
- A small diced starchy potato improves the creamy texture
- let it simmer and stir often
- Add water gradually, you don’t want a watery broth
- Serve with freshly ground pepper and extra virgin olive oil
If you have any leftovers, you can store pasta with chickpeas in the fridge in a tight lid container for 2 days.
However, the pasta will absorb liquid as it sits. To reheat, add up to 1 cup of water until it’s thinned to the desired consistency, then gently warm over medium-low heat.
MORE RECIPES WITH CHICKPEAS?
If you go for convenient canned chickpeas for your vegetarian or vegan last-minute meals, have a look at these amazing recipes!
- Creamy chickpea soup
- Mediterranean chickpea soup
- Chickpea Bruschetta
- Couscous salad with chickpeas
- Roasted vegetables and chickpea salad
The delicious and protein-packed chickpeas are one of the best cupboard staples ever: they’re so versatile, healthy and just perfect for a quick and healthy family meal.
And if you make this pasta e ceci let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!
PASTA E CECI (PASTA WITH CHICKPEAS)
- 2 cans (14oz/400gr. each) chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 lb (8oz/220 grams) short pasta shapes (shells, orecchiette, ditali...)
- 4 cups (960 ml) water or vegetable broth, plus more if needed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1 medium-sized onion, diced
- 1 medium-sized potato, cubed
- 1 garlic, diced
- 1 rosemary, sprig
- fine salt, according to taste
- black pepper
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the diced onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, the cubed potato, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook stirring frequently, about 1 minute.
- Then add water or vegetable broth, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.
- Then turn the heat off, remove the rosemary.
- Scoop out about 1 and 1/2 cup of the chickpeas and some broth to a blender, puree until smooth and return it to the pot. Alternatively, you might use a stick blender, or you can simply smash part of the chickpeas with a potato masher. However, be careful, the liquid is still hot
- Turn the heat on, bring to a light boil, and add the dried pasta.
- Reduce the heat and cook gently, stirring often, until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite. If the soup seems too thick, gradually add water or broth and thin to desired consistency (note: the longer it sits on the stove, the thicker it will get).
- Season with salt and pepper according to your taste (if you use broth, it's important to adjust the seasoning at the end and not at the beginning, as you never really know how salty the broth is).
- Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese if you don't keep it vegan. Enjoy!