Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pasta e ceci

So I recently read about this dish, pasta e ceci, here, and it was mouthwatering enough to get me to try and make it at home. Some Googling resulted in a few recipes, here and here, which I used to cobble together a version of the dish using what I had around the house. Served it up for dinner to three hungry men and they wolfed it down, so I would consider that a success.

Pasta e ceci
Serves four hungry people


500g dried chickpeas
2 carrots
1 stalk of celery
4 small tomatoes, skinned,de-seeded then chopped
1 litre of cooking water (or use plain water/mild stock)
250g of small pasta shapes (ditalini, short cut macaroni, etc)
4 small onions, finely chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
olive oil
Salt and pepper to season


1. Put dried chickpeas, carrot, celery, and one sprig of rosemary into large pot. Cover with water by at least 2 inches. Simmer for 2-3 hours (check for doneness - the chickpeas should be tender but not mushy). When done, drain and reserve at least 1 liter of the cooking water, and discard the carrot, celery and rosemary.

2. Pour the olive oil into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently. Finely chop the other rosemary sprig and add it to the pan and fry over a gentle heat till it begins to release its aroma.

3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry over a gentle heat till soft and golden.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for just a couple of minutes before adding the cooked chickpeas, water and the seasonings. Simmer for approx 20mins, then remove about half of the soup and process through a food mill (use a blender if you don\'t have a food mill). Return the pureed soup to the pan.

5. Add the raw pasta then simmer gently, stirring regularly to make sure the pasta doesn't start sticking to the base of the pan. Add a little more water/stock if necessary.

6. Once the pasta is done, let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

7. Serve with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (I didn't bother, but served some crusty bread and rocket on the side which paired nicely).

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