A bowl of chickpea pasta
Pasta E Ceci Is The Lesser-Known Italian Dish With Modest Origins
Pasta e ceci, meaning pasta with chickpeas in Italian, is a dish that's nearly 2,000 years old. It's a specialty of Central and Southern Italy, particularly in the city of Rome.
Straddling the line between a stew and a pasta dish with a brothy sauce, pasta e ceci is a customizable meal that packs a ton of protein and fiber in one bowl.
Originally considered a peasant dish, the recipe uses shelf-stable chickpeas and pasta in combination with a tomato-based broth and whatever odds and ends you'd like to throw in.
Pasta e ceci's origins begin when chickpeas were brought to Italy from Turkey, and become a popular meat replacement during times when Catholics abstained from meat.
The meat replacement of chickpeas was bulked up with carb-heavy pasta. The rest of the elements, like the tomato-forward stew base, can change from cook to cook.
Traditionally, small pasta like ditalini or broken noodles are used in this dish, but just about any pasta will work. Roman pasta e ceci always uses chopped anchovies in the broth.
Other versions may use celery, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs like rosemary and parsley to flavor the dish. The broth can even be thickened with pureed chickpeas.