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Quick Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

This quick pasta e ceci recipe is made with canned chickpeas for an easy weeknight meal. Serve it on its own or with crusty bread for an incredible Italian-inspired feast!

Pasta e ceci is an Italian pasta and chickpea stew that’s served in restaurants all over the country, but it’s particularly popular in the region of Rome. This Roman specialty is super easy to make if you use canned chickpeas, and it’s something you are bound to love if you’re a fan of its cousin, pasta e fagioli.

If you don’t know what to expect from pasta with chickpeas, you’re not alone. This is not a chickpea soup with pasta in it, as it’s a bit thicker than soup, and it’s not really a stew either. Think of it as something very satisfying that sits somewhere between a soup and a stew.

What I like the most about this hearty pasta with chickpeas recipe is that it cooks quickly in one pot, and you can have it on the table in 45 minutes.

What do you need to make this pasta with chickpeas recipe?

If you’re looking for pasta e ceci recipes, you’re bound to find lots of variations. The main ingredients that you really need to make it are chickpeas, a form of short pasta (I used elbow pasta, but you can go for rigatoni, ditalini, or any other sort you might have in the pantry), and some quality plum tomatoes in juice.

Some pasta e ceci recipes call for parmesan rind, but that’s entirely optional. In fact, if you omit parmesan rind when cooking the soup and when serving it as well, this pasta e ceci is a vegan recipe.

How do you make pasta e ceci?

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or another large pot, preferably with a heavy bottom. Add the diced onions and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the crushed garlic and saute for 1 minute. 

  3. Next, add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.

  4. Add the vegetable stock, plum tomatoes crushed by hand, chickpeas, chopped basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and red chili flakes. Season with sea salt and cook for 10 minutes on low-medium heat.

  5. Add the pasta and kale and cook for 8-10 minutes until the pasta is al dente. 

  6. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately with grated parmesan (optional) and some extra fresh basil. 

Tips for the best pasta with chickpeas

• Quality tomatoes — For best results, use the highest quality plum tomatoes you can find, preferably organic. The cheap, value stuff doesn’t work well here, so avoid it if possible.

• Add more vegetable stock if you want your pasta e ceci to be soupier.

• You can use cavolo nero instead of kale, or even substitute with baby spinach You can also omit to add any leafy greens altogether — it will still be delicious.

• Pasta e ceci can be stored for up to three days in the fridge and tastes great when reheated. If you want to freeze it, it’s best to do so before adding the pasta, as it will prevent it from getting too mushy.