Serves a Crowd

Down and Dirty Pasta e Ceci

October  1, 2009
4 Ratings
Photo by Joey DeLeo
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • V.
  • NotTooSweet
  • Sarah LaSlam Baggs
    Sarah LaSlam Baggs
  • d_ribbens
  • Jestei

14 Reviews

V. March 18, 2017
This is such a delicious recipe!! I have made this quite a number of times now.
I do put the rosemary in sachets now (I put it in the pot when I add the stock) to avoid the pick-the-rosemary-leaves-out meal.
Robert W. February 23, 2017
I loved this---but particularly on the second day, when the sauce was a lot thicker. I was super careful to not have the liquid be above the pasta, and even kept it quite a bit below, making sure I just stirred the farfalle to get everything cooked. Wondering how get that thickness the first night? I also didn't taste the anchovies so much. What does it really mean to melt them? I probably gave them (and the garlic and rosemary) 5 minutes.
Heidi December 15, 2016
Holy chicken. This was delicious! I don't even remember saving it, but I am glad I did! Excellent balance of flavors, I will definitely be making this again, and doubling it. I found the rosemary and garlic balance to be excellent - I may add a bit more of both next time. Great one pot meal for a frigidly cold winter evening!
The I. February 10, 2016
Delicious! I doubled the recipe and made just a few slight changes....used orecchiette pasta instead of farfalle, one 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (without the sauce) instead of fresh tomatoes, and used Better than Boullion No Chicken broth.
NotTooSweet January 9, 2015
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.
Cecilia M. July 25, 2013
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.
Fred W. June 17, 2013
We were very disappointed. The rosemary was overpowering. I wouldn't make it again.
Scottsdale B. June 17, 2013
Just reduce the amount of rosemary, eliminate it, or substitute another herb that you like better -- thyme? basil? parsley?
Scottsdale B. June 16, 2013
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!
Kerry M. February 4, 2013
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?
fhp January 11, 2013
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)
Sarah L. January 9, 2013
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!
d_ribbens February 23, 2012
You should enter this in the Best Canned Fish contest... I make this routinely and LOVE it :)
Jestei October 25, 2009
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.