two weeks ago i was able to go home for the weekend (thank you porter for having a great seat sale!). it was cold af and snowing the whole time, which meant that i just stayed inside and ate. then rested and ate a little bit more 🐷. i actually tried to go to the gym, i really did. but as fate would have it that the gym that i attend had a fire and was closed for 72 hours LOL. coincidence? i don’t know…
on my list for this visit was pasta al forno, agnolini soup, which i haven’t had in years and am already craving again, and chicken cutlets. i also came across this gem while digging around in my nona’s fridge – pasta e ceci. hidden in a small tupperware container, i opened it up to find little ditalini pasta and chickpeas with flecks of red pepper flakes. it was delicious and comforting and i couldn’t wait to make it when i got home.
as with most of my favourite recipes, the ingredient list is short and sweet. all my nona uses is a can of chickpeas, pasta, a little dried red pepper and chilli flakes. i switched it up just a little by adding a clove of smashed garlic and some rosemary, and a little bit of tomato – but that’s another beauty of this recipe: it doesn’t need to follow the rules like most other italian recipes to be dubbed as authentic, this is one that’s different for each family’s preference.
the key to getting the sauce so creamy is to use the chickpea water from the can, as well as to puree 1/3 of the chickpeas (or more depending on the way you like it! i know my aunt likes almost all of the chickpeas mashed), but you can totally do it the roman way and not puree any. possibilities are endless!
pasta e ceci
1 can chickpeas
1 cup ditalini pasta
1 whole garlic clove, smashed
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 cups vegetable broth
2-3 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
heat a generous glug of olive oil in shallow pot over medium low heat. add smashed garlic cook until fragrant. add rosemary leaves and chilli and cook until rosemary is just starting to colour around the edges. add the tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute.
puree 1/3 of the cup of chickpeas, then add to the pot along with the remaining chickpeas and their liquid. season with salt and pepper. add broth and stir well to create a creamy sauce. add pasta and stir to incorporate. cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente, adding more broth if necessary, to keep sauce creamy.
remove from heat and serve hot, garnished with a rosemary stem fried in olive oil.