5 Ingredients or Fewer

Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci

April  3, 2021
50 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

It’s astonishing how much comfort you can derive—fast—out of basic ingredients you’ve used a thousand times. Here are the keys: First, you need to use all of the olive oil—it gives the soup substance and body, carries the other flavors, and makes up for the fact that you’re making an otherwise austere soup without a rich stock. As Granof says, “It’s what’ll make you think you’re on a balcony in Naples when you eat this.” Second, cook the garlic in the oil until it’s actually browned a bit, not simply softened. This makes the flavor toasty and nutty, and not bitter, despite what nonna might say. You can leave this as soupy or stewy as you like. Granof makes it for her son once a week. "I used to give him Parmesan rinds to teethe on, and when he no longer needed to teethe, I started throwing them in this pasta." Adapted slightly from Chickpeas by Victoria Granof (Short Stack Editions, 2015). —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons good tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (or another small shape, like macaroni)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly browned and fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and salt and fry for 30 seconds or so. Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. To serve, ladle the pasta into shallow bowls, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, and drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

116 Reviews

Annaperenna May 9, 2021
This is one of my favorite recipes. It's fast. It's easy. And it is delicious. I make it whenever I want a quick and easy pantry dinner.
 
Marem April 7, 2021
Delish! Added frozen butternut squash chunks and I thought it was divine.
 
aclincol February 24, 2021
I just made this w previously roasted spaghetti squash and white beans. I used less water - maybe 2/3 cup. It was great! All I had was Trader Joe’s paste and CA olive oil and it was very good just with staples.
 
Customer-Care-Ashley February 2, 2021

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Michel January 1, 2021
This was delicious. High ratio of tastiness to effort! I might increase the water to 2.5 cups.
 
JV December 18, 2020
I’ve made this many times, it’s delicious every time. I’ve made it low fodmap with garlic oil and gluten free ditalini. I’ve made it with garlic as well. I always add a small parmesan rind. I also always fry the chickpeas with the oil and tomato paste for a bit to help caramelize and deepen the flavor. Always use my best quality olive oil and double concentrate tomato paste, and the salt is essential. I’ve also cut down the oil to 1 tbs with no issues a few times.
 
JV December 18, 2020
Another note. I fry the pinch of chili flakes in the first step with the garlic to let it infuse and deepen in flavor. Then, based on how I’m feeling I’ll add a bit of milder aleppo chili once it’s cooked.
 
Cheryl September 21, 2020
This is a great idea and sounds so easy but really didnt look or taste good. I added lots of cheese to give it flavor and thicken the 'soupiness'. Edible but nothing special.
 
Bret S. July 16, 2020
I love this as my base recipe. I use 2 cups of chicken stock though and also fresh rosemary with the garlic in the oil. The rosemary really goes well with this. Also adapted it for the instant pot and cook it on high pressure for 4 minutes. Comes out perfect!
 
Noe50 July 8, 2020
I made this and it was very bland. Not sure what I did wrong. Looked like a straightforward recipe.
 
CarmelJennifer June 27, 2020
Love this so much and make it every few weeks. We definitely use a lot more garlic and let it brown well before adding the tomato paste. It’s good with escarole or kale wilted in towards the end, but often enough we leave it out.
 
Jan M. May 13, 2020
Scrumptious recipe! This was my first attempt & it had loads of flavor. Assume my high quality olive oil, Mutti double concentrated tomato paste and Rummo Tubetti Rigati was the ticket. I also added chopped spinach and a cube of parmigiano rind per a couple helpful reviews. My adjustments were 4 TB tomato paste (vs 3 TB), 3/4 cup pasta (vs 1/2 cup ~ wanted a more even distribution between beans and pasta) and 2 1/2 cups water because several people mentioned it was dry. This was far from dry. Don't skimp on salt, pepper nor hot red pepper flakes. My only trepidation was finding a 'toasting' balance to prevent the garlic from burning. I was very careful not to turn the heat up too high and coddle the garlic, stirring constantly at a low heat. What took me so long to make this flavorful and healthy meal?
 
Jan M. May 13, 2020
Scrumptious recipe! This was my first attempt & it had loads of flavor. Assume my high quality olive oil, Mutti double concentrated tomato paste and Rummo Tubetti Rigati No72' was the ticket. I also added chopped spinach and a cube of parmigiano rind per a couple helpful reviews. My adjustments were 4 TB tomato paste (vs 3 TB), 3/4 cup pasta (vs 1/2 cup ~ wanted a more even distribution between beans and pasta) and 2 1/2 cups water because several people mentioned it was dry. This was far from dry. Don't skimp on salt, pepper nor hot red pepper flakes. My only trepidation was finding a 'toasting' balance to prevent the garlic from burning. I was very careful not to turn the heat up too high and coddle the garlic, stirring constantly at a low heat. What took me so long to make this flavorful and healthy meal?
 
PCD May 5, 2020
Delicious comfort food! This is so simple to make that it seems approachable even when I come home late from work and feel too tired to cook. I add arugula on top to feel healthy. Thanks for a delicious vegan recipe!
 
pamire May 4, 2020
This is on permanent rotation at our house. I make it with chickpeas cooked in the Instant Pot (for just 3 minutes after an overnight soaking!) and always use the cooking liquid instead of water (à la Deb Perlman). I also make her garlic, hot pepper flake and olive oil drizzle for the top of it. Toss in a Parmesan rind too if you have one.
 
Kim April 16, 2020
Quick, simple and absolutely delicious! Appreciate the short list of pantry ingredients. I read other reviews and added some chicken broth rather than water. I had a bag of baby spinach that needed to get used up, so I tossed in a few handfuls for the last 5 minutes of simmering time.
 
sotis April 8, 2020
This is delicious! I followed the recipe and it turned out great.. def want a good quality olive oil, I think it makes all the difference

If I were to make this again I would use more liquid, it was so good and I wanted it to be more like a hearty soup than noodles+ceci in a broth. So good. Great for quarantine with limited ingredients.
 
Tashy&Mame April 4, 2020
This was incredibly good. One of the best dinners I've ever had. I added generous amounts of nutritional yeast and Jack Daniels, plus an entire package of chopped spinach (frozen, because that's what we had). It was perfect. I'm going to make it again tomorrow.
 
After watching Amanda Hesser make this a few days ago...a week ago...a month ago...who knows anymore...I gave it a whirl. Initially I thought the ingredients were incompatible and boy, was I wrong. For a fast, simple, easy to make meal, this was amazingly good and deceptively nuanced.
 
Olivia L. March 29, 2020
Was prob the best pasta we have had in a long time. Easy and heart warming. Added the extra olive oil as Amanda suggested in video (assuming I watched it properly) and added a dash of Anchovy paste!
 
cmtm March 28, 2020
This is a fantastic recipe as is but is easily adaptable to taste. The second time I made it, I had some chickpea pasta on hand, so I used half regular pasta and half chickpea. I didn't have tomato paste, so I used a 200 gram container of tomato purée, and it was great. Don't skip the red pepper flakes unless they're really not your thing.