Down and Dirty Pasta e Ceci

By • October 1, 2009 10 Comments

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Author Notes: This is, hands down, my favorite pasta recipe. By definition, pasta and chick peas is not a refined dish. But there are purer ways to make this (and 1,000 variations). This is quick, easy and tasty. The recipe is adapted from an Italian recipe book, La Cuccina di Casa, put out by the estimable arbiters of Italian food and drink, Gambero Rosso, that really ought to be translated into English. It is all simple home cooking. My version differs in that it uses canned chick peas and does not fuss much with deseeding, peeling and milling the tomatoes. It is the perfect healthy fall and winter dish. fisheri

Serves 4

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 fillets anchovies
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 3 healthy sprigs rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 4 cups chicken broth (better) or water
  • 1/2 packet small pasta, like farfalle
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • grated parmesan
  1. Dice garlic. Cut up anchovies, roughly chop tomatoes.
  2. Over medium heat, saute garlic, anchovies and two rosemary sprigs until the anchovies are melted.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes. Sautee 10 or 15 minutes, till the tomatoes are fully cooked. Salt as needed.
  4. Increase heat and add can of chick peas, with water in the can, and a few cups of boiling water or heated chicken broth. Add last sprig of rosemary. Bring to soft boil.
  5. Add pasta. The liquid should just barely cover the pasta. Reduce heat to healthy simmer and cook till one minute less than the package recommends. Add water or broth if needed. But remember, the broth should be thick, so add the least amount of liquid possible that still allows the pasta to cook.
  6. When the pasta is done -- to my taste less done than usual -- spoon into bowls. Add grated parmesan, ground pepper and a few drops of good olive oil. Perfect.

More Great Recipes: Pasta|Entrees|Plums|Tomatoes

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Comments (10) Questions (1)


8 months ago NotTooSweet

I considered making this last week when I had only cannellini beans, but decided to just wait and make it as the recipe is written. We had this last night and it was so delicious - the sauce was creamy and just perfect! I used only 2 sprigs of rosemary and removed them before adding the broth as we do not like a strong rosemary flavor. We still tasted rosemary, but for us it was just right. Love this dish and will be making it often.


about 2 years ago Cecilia M.

This is fantastic! Made it about four times so far (in a month!).
It's on the stove again now. What I like is I can make the "sauce" ahead of time and then at dinner time just add the pasta. I'm experimenting adding extra veggies (trying carrots this time). I think kale or cauliflower would work well too.


about 2 years ago Fred Wishnie

We were very disappointed. The rosemary was overpowering. I wouldn't make it again.


about 2 years ago Scottsdale Bubbe

Just reduce the amount of rosemary, eliminate it, or substitute another herb that you like better -- thyme? basil? parsley?


about 2 years ago Scottsdale Bubbe

Kerry -- fhp must have meant that the Pasta Ceci has a strong garlic content. The recipe sounds delicious and I have never heard the prohibition about using parmesan with dishes that contain a strong garlic content. Some changes for the salt sensitive: use low sodium chicken broth and don't add additional salt because both the anchovies and the parmesan are salty. And, PLEASE, shredded or shaved parmesan (or Pecorino Romano, if you prefer), not grated!


over 2 years ago Kerry Maxwell

he takes exception to the use of Parmigiano on Pasta Ceci as it has a strong garlic content
I'm a little confused by this. I can find no source listing garlic in Parmigiano. Are you saying there are flavor compounds that taste like garlic?


over 2 years ago fhp

This was good but my Roman husband thought I should have mushed some of the ceci in the food mill (mulinex). His Grandmother finishes her Pasta Ceci with diced rosemary (fine as dust) fried in the smallest amount of olive oil and then thrown in to the finished soup before adding the pasta. It really does impart a wonderful rosemary flavor. Like most Romans he takes exception to the use of Parmigiano on Pasta Ceci as it has a strong garlic content. Yes, over there wine is always measured by the very random "bicchiere" (glass)


over 2 years ago Sarah LaSlam Baggs

I saw this and decided to make it just because my fiancé loves chickpeas but I wasn't prepared for the deliciousness! I am going to make this again and again!


over 3 years ago d_ribbens

You should enter this in the Best Canned Fish contest... I make this routinely and LOVE it :)


almost 6 years ago Jestei

This is freaking awesone. First, some translations: when he says "half a packet" of pasta he means half a pound; yes he means to sauté the first ingredients in the aforementioned olive oil. When I make this again (and I will, soon) I will add more tomatoes. But honestly, this recipe is so delicious. Make it.