Pasta e Ceci

Pasta and Chickpeas


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This simple, thick pasta soup, comprised of the very cheapest of ingredients, is made all over Italy with few variations on the central theme. It is intended to be a satisfying, cheap, nourishing and tasty soup that relies on the addition of other available ingredients to enrich and improve on the basic recipe. You could easily, for example, use rich chicken or meat stock instead of water if you like, or add some meaty bones to the simmering soup, or you could may choose to include other vegetables, such as shredded cabbage, ripe tomatoes or chopped courgettes, towards the end of cooking. Very much the same recipe can be used and adapted if you are making a basic pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) or pasta e lenticchie (pasta and lentils).


  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 x 15 cm/6 in sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 450 g/1 lb short ribbed pasta, such as ditalini
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve


  1. Rinse the drained chickpeas. Put them in a large pan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and boil hard for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse again.

  2. Return the chickpeas to the pan, cover with fresh water and add the vegetables and rosemary sprigs. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove and discard the vegetables.

  3. Whiz one-third of the chickpeas until smooth, then return to the pan. Stir, season and simmer for 20 minutes.

  4. Cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water until almost tender. Drain, stir it into the chickpeas, then boil everything for about a minute, stirring gently. Adjust the seasoning, and serve. Offer olive oil to diners to drizzle over their soup.