A classic Pasta con ceci

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An easy and classic Pasta con Ceci recipe

A friend on Twitter posted about this famous Pasta con Ceci recipe by Victoria Granof on Food52 Genius recipes and it immediately piqued my interest. How could such a simple pasta dish consisting of so few ingredients be so delicious? I often find carb-on carb doesn’t work that well together in a dish. I mean they certainly can, and I’ve loved pasta with potatoes, green beans and pesto, and thinly sliced potatoes on a pizza with rosemary and cream, so I know it can go down. I’m also not the biggest fan of chickpeas unless in this delicious dish with chorizo, or into Yotam Ottolenghi’s creamy hummus.

Pasta con Ceci

Nevertheless, this Pasta con Ceci needed to be made.

I found the quantity of pasta in the recipe, namely 1/2 of a cup to be too little so I doubled that. I really preferred a higher ratio of pasta to chickpeas. I just added an extra cup of water which worked out perfectly to make a delicious silky sauce. I also added Parmesan rinds to the mix. I have so many stashed away in my freezer waiting to be used in minestrone that I never seem to make. I also went overboard and added 4 small rinds, so the flavour was incredible but the downside was my pot was a nightmare to clean.

Pasta con CeciThe only other alteration I made to this recipe was adding the chilli flakes with the pasta towards the beginning. I Prefer my chilli cooked into the sauce vs. added raw at the end. 

Verdict. It was really quite a delicious dish and so simple to make. After my first forkful, I found myself wanting more which is always a good sign. My only complaint was I found it a little too oily for me. I know this is what gives it the beautiful mouthfeel and I’m sure it’s integral to the success of the dish, but I will definitely want to try a version using at least a tablespoon or two less.

I will also want to play around adding spinach at the end because I’m clearly obsessed with adding spinach to pasta dishes lately, and I thought perhaps a few lardons fried up at the beginning with the garlic wouldn’t go amiss. Upon a little more research, spinach and pancetta are often used in classic Italian recipes. I also saw sage and oregano floating around, so perhaps a hit of herbs would be good too. 

Pasta con Ceci

This is a delicious dish that uses mainly store-cupboard staples that are perfect for a weeknight supper. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese and additional chilli flakes.

Recipe – slightly adapted from Food 52 

Pasta con ceci

A classic pasta con ceci recipe.
Print Recipe
An easy and classic Pasta con Ceci recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes


  • 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 3 Tbsp good quality and fresh tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 regular 410gm tin of chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta or another small shape, like macaroni
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes optional plus additional for serving
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 - 2 Parmesan rinds optional
  • freshly grated Parmesan to serve


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pot and fry the garlic for about 1-2 minutes until it just starts to caramelise. Add the tomato paste and salt and fry this for around 30 seconds.
  • Add the chickpeas, chilli, pasta, Parmesan rinds (if using) and water and allow this to simmer gently for 15 - 20 minutes and until the pasta is al dente and the sauce has thickened.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve with Parmesan cheese. 
Servings: 2
Author: Sam Linsell



You can find a few more of my favourite easy pasta dishes here.





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  1. The Italians are just so good at taking a couple of ingredients and turning them into something special. Love the simple recipe and of course, that chair!

  2. Lizet Hartley says:

    Love, love, love. As soon as I start eating carbs again – maybe tomorrow given this recipe – I am making this!

  3. So delicious, this pasta is the ultimate comfort meal! Love the parmesan rinds for added flavor. 🙂

  4. Hi Sam
    I love this simple recipe, however I am not a huge admirer of chick peas so….I opted out & used cannellini beans instead. I also used a blend of mizithra & parmesan to top it off. It was excellent to say the least. Keep’em coming! ?

  5. Hi Chase – your version sounds delicious and glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  6. Love your site! Beautiful photographs and fabulous recipes. So glad I stumbled on it!

  7. Thanks, Deanna and lovely to have here.

  8. It was good, if I had cooked it right. I have to be gluten free and had bought some gluten free orecchiette. It’s difficult to find good gluten free pasta. And you never see orecchiette. I was so excited when I found these and tried them in this recipe. What I didn’t realize that the pasta was precooked and cryovaced. Which meant that my sauce, which was delicious with its tiny amount of ingredients, couldn’t really reduce. I fished out as much of the pasta as I could so it wouldn’t overcook and then reduced the sauce with chickpeas. It was still delicious though, with all my issues. Next time, regular gluten free pasta which usually needs around 9 minutes added later in the process. Sorry about this long saga. I was sooo aggravated.

  9. Hi Alene, yeah, I reckon this is for regular pasta. I don’t have much experience with gluten-free pasta because I only et gluten pasta.

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