Pasta e ceci is a traditional farmers dish, made from simple ingredients and packing some serious flavour. As with most cucina povera dishes it only contains a few ingredients, the main ingredient being incredibly cheap and filling: chickpeas.
Ah the humble chickpea, when most people think of chickpeas they think: boring, flavourless, rabbit food. Absolutely not!! With meat being so expensive these days, chickpeas are the perfect substitute, they’re really filling, mega cheap and they go a long way in meal. Combined with the right herbs and flavours, chickpeas can really add some gusto to a dish and help to bulk it out.
Now you might think that pasta and chickpeas is a bit of an odd combination… I thought that too the first time my housemate made me pasta and beans (which will appear at some on the blog), it just seems completely alien to people who don’t know the all important PASTA RULES. When it comes to pasta there are few important rules that must be followed in order to make the correct pasta dish, I’ve already posted rules about how to boil pasta, now here are some rules on how to pair the right pasta with the right sauce:
- Thin, light pasta goes with a thin sauce like Spaghetti alla carbonara. The chunks of pancetta in the carbonara are light enough that the spaghetti can still support them. Hence why spaghetti and meatballs is unheard of in Italy – because it doesn’t make sense, once you’ve eaten the spaghetti you’re just left with a plate full of meatballs.
- Flat and wide pasta goes with heavy sauces, like tagliatelle alla bolognese. The wide surface area allows the bolognese sauce to cling to the pasta, again this is why spaghetti bolognese is a tale that Italian mothers tell there children to scare them rather than an actual dish.
- Short pasta goes with legumes and little chunks of food, like penne goes well with beans or peas because the peas can get stuck inside the penne, this gives you a little taste explosion when you bite into it.
- Pasta shapes like fusilli or farfalle go with rich sauces, like fusilli al pesto. The sauce gets caught in all of the twists and turns of the pasta.
So with these rules in mind we need a short pasta shape to go with the chickpeas, you can use any short pasta you like, I’ve chosen two kinds: spaghetti tagliati and sedanini rigati.
So here’s the rest of your ingredients:
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- Vegetable broth
- 2 sage leaves
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 150g of short pasta
And here’s the recipe:
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and let them sweat in a pan with some olive oil, add a splash of veg broth to stop the onions from frying. You want them to SOFTEN.
- Add the herbs and let them flavour the sauce for a few minutes
- Add the chickpeas and a bit more broth and simmer for 5 minutes
- Top up with broth and bubble for 5 minutes
- Add the sedanini rigati and boil for 5 minutes
- Add the spaghetti tagliati and boil for 5 minutes
- It’s ready when it has boiled down to a thick soupy sauce (don’t forget to take out the rosemary and sage at the end!).
And there you have it, pasta e ceci. A simple and delicious dish to warm you up on a winter’s eve.
Work that hob and Walk unafraid people!