This soup is a real family favourite - a much loved bowl of comfort that’s popular throughout Italy for a good reason. It’s something we at CED make most weeks at home in the winter months. We’d love you to give it a go and want to share our recipe with you. And for the Veganuary crew, don’t add any cheese at the end and this is a perfect vegan supper! We have a video guide on our Instagram too -see the link at the bottom of the piece.
Bear with us on this one guys...it sounds like a bit of an odd dish doesn’t it?
The pulse + carb combination and the simplicity of the ingredients might suggest a slightly uninteresting plate of food. There are other similar soups that are popular in Italy, for example, pasta and beans, which might provoke a similar reaction.
Unless that is, you’ve been lucky enough to have tucked into one of these steaming bowls of deliciousness before. Perhaps you wandered into a humble trattoria on a holiday in Tuscany, and ordered a portion of whatever that steaming soup was that all the workers seemed to be tucking into on their lunch break. If that's the case, you know how great this is! If not, follow our simple recipe and you’ll see this is something quite magical. It's also very easy to make, and full of goodness and energy. Meals like this are central to communities which have some of the highest life expectancies in the world!
The soup has a base of the classic holy trinity of celery, onion and carrot. Garlic is a good idea too. It’s sweetened with tomato puree, and then we simply add water and chickpeas - both pureed and whole. We throw in plenty of rosemary as that is one of the principal flavours that ties everything together. Cook a little pasta (fresh or dried, right into the soup), season correctly, and you have something that will make you smile as soon as it hits your lips!
We’ve featured this dish and our recipe for it on our Instagram (instagram.com/cookeatdiscover) - we’ve even put together a simple video guide in the Insta Stories function - you can check it out HERE.
We made fresh pasta for the dish in the video, but you can ignore that process and just throw in any small shop-bought pasta shape instead. Very simply, you could just snap up some spaghetti into smaller pieces with your hands and use that.
Pasta e Ceci
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
- Pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas
- 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
- A few large tbsps of rosemary leaves
- 100g small dried pasta shapes
- Small handful of grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1. Sweat the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic with the chilli flakes and olive oil on a medium heat for around 10 mins, until the vegetables are well softened.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor blend one of the tins of chickpeas, as well as the liquid in the can, until smooth. Leave the other tin unblended.
3. Stir the tomato puree into the veg, and fry for a further two minutes. Pour in the chickpea puree plus the unblended chickpeas (along with the liquid in the can). Refill three quarters of both cans with water and add that too. Add the rosemary, a few good pinches of salt, and mix well. Simmer on a medium-low heat for around 30 minutes, until the soup has become thick and unctuous.
4. Throw in your pasta and continue to simmer until cooked, mixing every now and again. If the soup becomes too thick and dry, you can add a little more water. Mix in the Parmesan. Taste and add salt to taste before serving. Pasta and chickpeas are both ingredients that need good seasoning, so don’t be shy with the salt! Don’t worry, even if you have to add a few big pinches of salt, the quantity of it in your food pales in insignificance when compared to most processed food you find in the supermarkets!
5. Garnish with a little more Parmesan, a drizzle of good olive oil, and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!