Imagine a dish that combines the comfort of pasta, the richness of ceci (chickpeas), and the warmth of a hearty broth, all in one pot. Welcome to Classic One-Pot Pasta e Ceci, a timeless Italian recipe that will satisfy your cravings and fill your home with irresistible aromas. This dish is perfect for cozy nights in, family gatherings, or casual dinner parties.
With its creamy sauce, tender pasta, and velvety chickpeas, this classic Italian dish will transport your taste buds to the Tuscan countryside. The pasta absorbs the flavorful broth, infusing each bite with a depth of flavor that will leave you craving more. The addition of ceci adds a delightful texture and nutty flavor, making this dish a true comfort food.
Classical One-Pot Pasta e Ceci Recipe
- Large pot with lid (at least 3 qt capacity)
- Heavy bottomed large skillet or sauté pan
- Colander or strainer
- Wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 8 oz 227g Spaghetti
- 1 cup 150g Ceci (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 4 cups 1L Vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp 30ml Olive oil
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 Carrot peeled and grated
- 1 Celery stalk finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese optional
- Fresh parsley leaves chopped (for garnish)
- Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in the large pot.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt to the pot.
- Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, olive oil, and pasta to the pot. Season with black pepper.
- Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the pasta and chickpeas with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Serve hot, topped with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley leaves.
- Calories: 420
- Protein: 19g
- Fat: 16g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 400mg
- Carbohydrates: 60g
- Dietary Fiber: 10g
- Sugar: 8g
Occasions for this dish:
This dish is perfect for cozy nights in, family gatherings, casual dinner parties, or weeknight meals. Its comforting and warming nature makes it ideal for fall and winter seasons.
What is Pasta e Ceci?
Pasta e Ceci is a traditional Italian dish made with pasta, chickpeas, and vegetables. It’s a comforting, plant-based meal that’s perfect for cold weather or when you need a pick-me-up. The name “Pasta e Ceci” literally means “pasta and chickpeas” in Italian.
The chickpeas are softened by cooking them in the broth and then blended with the vegetables and garlic. This blend is simmered with the pasta until both are cooked to perfection. The result is an incredibly hearty meal that will satisfy any pasta lover.
Not only is it a great source of plant-based protein, but it is truly a flavor bomb that will leave your taste buds tingling with delight!
How do I make Pasta e Ceci?
Making Pasta e Ceci is relatively straightforward. Start by cooking some pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, sauté some onions, garlic, and celery in olive oil until they’re softened. Then add in some chickpeas, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and spices. Simmer everything together until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened. Finally, combine the cooked pasta and chickpea mixture, and serve with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
For detailed instructions and quantities, see our recipe above.
Can I use different types of pasta?
What makes Pasta e Ceci so special is its versatility. Yes, you can substitute spaghetti with other long, thin pasta shapes like linguine or bucatini.
In fact, you can use just about any type of pasta, including spaghetti, macaroni, penne, fusilli, shells and rotini.
What if I don’t have vegetable broth?
You can use chicken broth or beef broth instead, or even make your own broth with vegetable scraps and herbs.
What type of pasta should I use for Pasta e Ceci?
Like we’ve seen above, any type of pasta can work well for Pasta e Ceci, but tubular pasta shapes like penne, rigatoni, or macaroni are ideal. This is because their hollow centers allow the sauce to coat the pasta evenly and deliciously.
However, feel free to experiment with different pasta shapes based on personal preference! In this Recipe, for example we go with Spaghetti, because most people feel it’s the easiest to find and cook.
Can I add meat to Pasta e Ceci?
Absolutely! Adding bacon, pancetta, or Italian sausage can give Pasta e Ceci a smoky, savory flavor. Just cook the meat in the pan with the onions and garlic at the beginning, then set it aside until the vegetables are done. Once everything is ready, combine the cooked pasta, chickpeas, and meat for a hearty, satisfying meal.
You can try shredded chicken or sausage, again, added near the end of cooking.
It will, of course, no longer be vegan. 🙂
Is Pasta e Ceci gluten-free?
No, traditional Pasta e Ceci is not gluten-free since it contains wheat pasta. However, there are plenty of gluten-free pasta alternatives available nowadays, such as rice pasta, quinoa pasta, or corn pasta.
Simply replace the regular pasta with a gluten-free option to enjoy a gluten-free version of this beloved dish.
What’s the history behind Pasta e Ceci?
Pasta e Ceci hails from central Italy, particularly the regions of Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany. Farmers originally created this humble yet nourishing dish during harvest times, utilizing locally sourced ingredients like chickpeas, vegetables, and pasta.
Today, Pasta e Ceci remains a staple across Italy, especially among vegetarians and vegans who appreciate its plant-based goodness. It’s part of the cucina povera, and it’s enjoyed, not only in Italy, but also around the world, as part of the Mediterranean diet.
Are there variations of Pasta e Ceci?
Of course! Creative cooks love putting their spin on Pasta e Ceci. Some versions feature roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for added sweetness and color.
One of the simplest variations is to switch up the type of pasta you use. You can substitute macaroni, penne, or even orzo, depending on the texture and flavors you’re looking for. You can also mix and match different shapes of pastas to give it an extra bit of oomph.
If you’re looking to add a bit of veggie goodness, you can add various types of vegetables like carrots, celery, peas, or spinach. Adding these ingredients will increase the nutritional content of your pasta e ceci and is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet.
You can also upgrade the flavor of your dish by substituting the broth with a can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. The additional acidity of the tomatoes will give your dish a nice depth and brightness. You can even add some Parmesan cheese to get that extra umami flavor.
Others might include kale, rapini, or broccoli rabe for extra greens.
No matter what kind of pasta e ceci variant you decide to make, you’ll be sure to enjoy a delicious meal! Give one of these variations a try and you won’t be disappointed.
Feel free to play around with different combinations to find your favorite variation!
Can I make Pasta e Ceci ahead of time?
Although Pasta e Ceci tastes best when served immediately, you can prepare parts of it in advance.
For example, cook the pasta and chickpeas separately, then store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to two days. When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat both components and combine them with the sauce.
Do I need to soak chickpeas before using them in Pasta e Ceci?
No soaking is necessary! Just rinse the chickpeas under cold water, drain them, and they’re ready to go. Unlike other beans, chickpeas possess a relatively small size and quick cooking time, which makes them convenient for last-minute meal prep.
Can I use canned chickpeas for Pasta e Ceci?
Canned chickpeas can save time in the kitchen, but they may lack the same depth of flavor and texture as cooked dried chickpeas.
If using canned chickpeas, look for low-sodium options and rinse them thoroughly to remove excess salt.
Alternatively, you can always cook dried chickpeas from scratch and store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer for future meals.
How do I elevate my Pasta e Ceci game?
Experimenting with various seasonings and spices can take Pasta e Ceci to new heights. Try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick or mixing in some earthy mushrooms for enhanced umami flavor.
You could also explore different cheeses – like Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or Asiago – to discover unique flavor profiles. Don’t hesitate to get adventurous and turn this classic dish into your signature creation!