Ditalini With Tender Herbs, Chickpeas & Yogurt

June 30, 2021
20 Ratings
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A mix of tender herbs and greens, such as dill, parsley, and spinach, melt into a base of garlic and anchovy, then simmer in broth or water until totally tender and silky—the perfect foil for creamy chickpeas and chewy pasta. Use any tender herb or green here, like those mentioned above, or Swiss chard, or celery leaves, or basil. This is the place to use up all those wilty greens in your fridge.

This one-pot pasta also has a trick up its sleeve: The pasta is soaked while we prepare everything else, so it quickly cooks to al dente in the same pot as the greens. Shorter shapes, like orecchiette and macaroni, work best with this method, but if all you have are longer shapes, just snap them into one-inch pieces.

Only have hearty greens, like collards or escarole? They need a bit more simmering time and cooking liquid. Try Orecchiette With Bacony Collards & Cannellini Beans.

And read more about this greens-beans-pasta technique here, so you have the confidence to take it off-script. —Sohla El-Waylly

What You'll Need
  • 5 ounces (1 1/2 cups) ditalini (or another short dry pasta, such as macaroni or penne)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and chopped
  • 6 cups roughly chopped tender herbs and/or greens (such as dill, parsley, basil, arugula, radish tops, beet tops, etc), plus a handful to serve
  • 1 (15.5-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt, plus more to serve
  • Lemon zest and juice, to taste
  1. Put the pasta in a small bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock or water. Stir occasionally to make sure the pasta isn’t clumping together.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium Dutch oven over medium heat and melt until foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the anchovies melt into the fat and the garlic just begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs and/or greens, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock or water, and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a maintain an active simmer. Add the beans and cook, partially covered, until the liquid has reduced to about 1 cup and the greens are tender and silky, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the greens and add more salt and pepper if needed. (You want it to be very well seasoned at this point, so the liquid and greens can season the pasta.)
  4. Add the pasta along with the soaking liquid and simmer, stirring constantly, until the pasta is al dente, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt, remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and season with lemon zest and juice to taste. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls and garnish with more yogurt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Sohla El-Waylly is a Food52 Resident, sharing new riffable recipes every month that'll help you get creative in the kitchen. Watch her cook on YouTube in her new series, Off-Script With Sohla. Before she started developing fun recipes for home cooks, she worked as a chef in N.Y.C. and L.A., briefly owning a restaurant in Brooklyn with her husband and fellow chef, Ham El-Waylly. She lives in the East Village with Ham, their two dogs, and cat. Find out what else she's up to on Instagram @sohlae

21 Reviews

brushjl April 29, 2023
Yes! I agree with other reviewers. Of course I soaked and cooked my own beans. It was good even without anchovies. Very good and different pasta recipe
Winnie October 10, 2022
Great recipe and I make a version of it (or the bacony collards/tougher greens recipe) all. the. time. Depending on what greens need to move in the fridge and what beans and pasta are in the pantry, I switch it up accordingly, and modify seasonings slightly, too. Today it's bok choy, napa cabbage, king city pink beans, and elbows. So pretty! It's relatively quick, simple, hearty, nourishing, delicious and inexpensive. What's not to love?
Abigail33 January 17, 2022
This packs a serious punch of flavor and leaves you happy and satisfied. Slight change of the recipe: I had to cook the pasta for the full time on the package instructions; it was not at all ready after 3-5 minutes. Other than that, such a delicious and perfect way to create something rich and delicious out of my remaining herbs. We’re vegan so I substituted miso and Nori for the anchovy and then used coconut yogurt and it was scrumptious. Mine didn’t look like the picture as the arugula and spinach made it all sort of muddy colored but it was so silky and good, the appearance didn’t matter. My entire family, kids aged 2 and 6 ate it up!
ABP January 15, 2022
So delicious! The whole family (including 8, 5 and 3yo) loved it and went back for third and fourth helpings (!!). I subbed miso paste, loosened with a little olive oil, for anchovy to make it vegetarian, and used a full 1-lb box of ditalini, so basically tripled the recipe. Worked great!! Spinach and basil plus some cilantro for the greens; chickpeas and cannelini for the beans 😊 Liked it better without yogurt (tried some both ways)... but coated with shaved parm instead. And don't sleep on the lemon zest! Thanks so much for this crowd pleaser, Sohla ❤️🙏
besswww October 27, 2021
this is so good and versatile. I've made it a few times with whatever wilted greens or even hardier veggies (sauteeing them first) I have around.
Jul June 30, 2021
Excellent! Made this on a 95 degree day--did not heat up kitchen too much. Bonus! This recipe is absolutely a winner! So much flavor, so satisfying, so easy to go off script with swapping ingreds as needed. Raided my garden for a wonderful melange of greens and herbs. Lemon and yogurt really bring it together. Everyone loved it along side cold rotisserie chick and a crisp salad.
Hannah M. February 5, 2021
Delicious!! I used about 9 anchovies though cause I’m a cretin but I regret nothing. I used a mix of spinach, dill, parsley and basil and used vegan yoghurt to keep it dairy free. Topped with homemade chile crisp, fed two people massive portions with some leftovers
Hannah January 30, 2021
I loved this recipe, and I've riffed on it several times! My only caveat would be to be careful about the pasta you use - a gluten-free or bean-based pasta will completely fall apart and won't be sturdy enough for this dish, in my experience. I would also keep an eye on it/continuously stir in the last steps after the pasta is added to prevent sticking.
skylarmarz January 26, 2021
This was delicious. I used arugula, basil, and dill and it turned out lovely. It's very different than the hearty greens version but just as good! It's been added to our staple rotation list of meals we keep in mind when picking dinners for the week.
Sohla is a goddess
besswww January 21, 2021
this was delicious but it looked a little muddy and stringy after so much cooking of baby greens.. I might try with hardier ones next time.
anichila January 19, 2021
This was delicious with a mix of red chard (sauteed chopped stems with garlic & anchovies) and dill. I used chickpea water (aquafaba) leftover from cooking them instead of water/broth. The end result was a deep pink brothy orechiette.
LBurt December 22, 2020
New favorite weeknight meal! This came together so quickly and easily. I forgot to buy anchovies so I added a little bit of worcestershire sauce and fish sauce after looking up things to substitute. Worked great! Thanks Sohla!
Whitney B. December 20, 2020
Yum! I used mostly spinach and a bit of dill and basil. I stuck with chickpeas for the beans. Whole wheat rotini worked well. Thanks for the recipe!
charabak December 18, 2020
This is absolutely everything about how I love to cook. Accessible and affordable ingredients, beautifully (but simply) prepared, multiple exclamations of “this might be my favorite dish I’ve ever made!!” I used a few squeezes of anchovy paste, elbow pasta, a bunch of curly parsley and a bunch of cilantro. Can’t wait to try with dill! I’ve made the bacony collards version also and honestly can’t decide which I like better. But the BEST PART is knowing that if I have a can of beans, random greens, and the end of a box of pasta I can create something so incredibly delicious that my boyfriend gets that dreamy “I love you” look in his eyes.

Sohla, you have been a highlight of 2020 for me and so many! I always know when I pick your recipes that they will be delicious and surprising and teach me something new about flavor and technique. Cannot wait for your cookbook :)
Rebecca M. November 23, 2020
Excellent with arugula, dill and basil! I'm looking forward to trying again with different beans and different greens.
Sangi K. November 18, 2020
This is a fabulous dish with flexibility to use what you have on hand. I’ve made it twice already since I found Sohla’s video a few days ago. I used chard and dill which provided excellent flavor. For some reason I felt it tasted creamier and richer the next day, so it’s a fun dish to have for leftovers as well.
Zqti November 15, 2020
This was delicious! Despite the point of the whole endeavor being how easily you can swap out ingredients, I did have chickpeas and dill. It never would have occurred to me to use 6 cups of dill (or any tender herb) at once, so very happy this recipe was created. Next attempt will likely be to use up cilantro.
Zqti November 20, 2020
Made it again! This time with a sofrito base (plus tomato paste and saffron), black eyed peas, Rotini, and kale. Used the bean cooking liquid as the broth for pasta soak. I like the dill one better. I think my pasta was too big.
m5mtd November 14, 2020
I made this tonight with spinach and parsley. I added dried dill and lots of lemon and used sour cream instead of yogurt. It was really creamy and good! It was easy to throw together and I would make again.
Khedden22 November 13, 2020
This will be in heavy rotation this winter, so delicious and easy. The only addition I made was serving it with balsamic vinegar, greens are always served with vinegar in the south!
KanMan November 12, 2020
Made this for dinner yesterday - in the spirit of the recipe, using the Cannellini bean I had rather than the chickpea I hadn't, as well as some very nice sour cream rather than greek yoghurt - however these sins in recipe reviewing matter not at all. The highlight of this was the vast quantity of very dilled greens, mealy bean, springy (pre-soaked, genius) pasta, and sour dairy. So good, we made the exact same thing again today.