PASTA CECI – Recipe
Chickpeas & Pasta
Pasta e Ceci is a mainstay of the Amalfi Coast and Neapolitan Cuisine. There are many different versions of this soup. Some call for a lot more tomatoes than others, while some use less tomato, as with this recipe here. Some people puree some of the chickpeas, while others don’t. Some cook the pasta in the soup, while others cook the pasta in water, then add to the soup after cooking it in the water. Most make the soup vegetarian, but if you like to you can add some Pancetta or Sausage to this soup.
This recipe was Excerpted from Bestselling Italian Cookbook author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke’s new forthcoming book, POSITANO – The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK – Travel Guide (January 2021) from Broadway Fifth Press, New York NY …
8 ounces Dry Chickpeas
1 small onion
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and left whole
1 small Onion, peeled and chopped
2 Bay Leaves
2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1 large Carrot, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
8 ounces short Maccheroni Pasta – Ditalini or whatever short maccheroni you like
½ teaspoon each of Salt and Red Pepper Flakes
6 whole Plum Tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
Soak the Chickpeas in water for 6 hours, or overnight.
Drain the chickpeas and wash over cold running water.
Place the chickpeas in a large pot. Add water to cover the beans, with water 2” above the beans. Add the carrot and 1 clove of garlic to the pot.
Turn the heat on to high, until the water just starts to boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat so the water is cooking at a low simmer.
After the chickpeas have been cooking for 1 hour, take a few out of the pot and eat them, to test if they are done cooking or if they need to cook for a little while longer. The Chickpeas should start getting soft enough to eat, yet still have a little bit of a firm bite to them.
Add about 6 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan with 2 cloves of Garlic and 2 Rosemary Sprigs. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes.
Add the onion and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the garlic and rosemary from the pan and discard.
Add the onions to the pan and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Add the salt and red pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes and cook on high heat for 2 minutes.
Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes, as you stir with a wooden spoon.
Once the beans are finished cooking, remove ⅓ of the chickpeas and pass through a food mill , or puree in a food-processor with a half-cup of the bean cooking liquid.
Put the pureed chickpeas in the pot with the tomatoes and cook on low-medium heat for 8 minutes.
Remove the carrots from the pot and chop fine. Put back into the pot.
Add the contents of the pan with the tomatoes into the pot of whole chickpeas. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
As the chickpeas are simmering, cook your maccheroni pasta in a pot with boiling salted water.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Once pasta has cooking, drain in a colander, and reserve a cup and a half of the pasta cooking water.
Add the pasta to the pot with the chickpeas, and mix everything together.
Try and determine the consistency of the Pasta Ceci at this point. It should be soupy , but not too watery and not too tight (dry). If it is too tight add as much as the pasta cooking water as you want, to get it to the consistency you like.
Place in bowls, drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and serve with grated Pecorino on the side.