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.
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.
The only other alteration I made to this recipe was I added 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.
This is a delicious dish that uses mainly store cupboard staples are perfect for a weeknight supper. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese and additional chilli flakes.
Recipe – slightly adapted from Food 52
- 4Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3Tbsp good quality and fresh tomato paste
- 1tsp 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 minute 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 150 – 20 minutes and until the pasta is al dente and the sauce has thickened. Adjust seasoning and serve with Parmesan cheese.
You can find a few more of my favourite easy pasta dishes here.
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