Pasta with chickpeas, also known as pasta e ceci, is an easy, family-friendly Italian recipe that is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
You'll enjoy a simple yet rich and creamy tomato sauce that hugs nutty chickpeas and ditalini pasta.
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You'll love this pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) because it's easy to make in one pot and just 30 minutes with simple and affordable pantry staples.
It's a creamy and delicious stew, and you'll feel amazing eating it as it's nourishing and wholesome.
To make it, we take inspiration from the original Italian recipe of pasta e ceci. Like most Italian recipes, this one is straightforward to put together, yet it tastes terrific.
First, make a flavor base with olive oil, garlic, onion, rosemary, and tomato paste. This is called "soffritto" in Italian and adds a ton of flavor to the dish.
Second, add chickpeas, broth, canned tomatoes, salt, and pepper and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Third, blend some chickpeas, add the pasta, and simmer for ten more minutes until the pasta is al dente.
The blended chickpeas and the starch of the pasta cooking right into the sauce make this pasta with chickpeas one of the creamiest dishes you'll ever have, without adding any cheese or dairy.
Then, of course, you can always add a sprinkle of grated parmesan (or dairy-free parmesan) on top if you like.
The original recipe calls for ditalini or ditaloni pasta; however, you can use other short pasta types such as conchiglie, elbows, pipette, campanelle, casarecce, and more.
You can use canned chickpeas or dry chickpeas that you previously soaked in water for 8 hours, then cooked in plenty of salted boiling water until tender (about 2 hours).
You can substitute chickpeas with other legumes and make delicious lentil pasta or pasta e fagioli.
To make a rich tomato sauce to simmer the chickpeas, you can use canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
Alternatively, whole canned peeled tomatoes or tomato puree are excellent options.
Some prefer pasta e ceci without tomato. In this case, you have to substitute vegetable broth for canned tomatoes.
Extra virgin olive oil
Use the oil for cooking garlic and onion and for drizzling on top.
Onion and Garlic
Onion and garlic, gently softened in olive oil, make a delicious flavor base (soffritto) which gives flavor to our pasta e ceci.
Fresh rosemary is the best hardy herb for this dish. You can add bay leaves and a few sage leaves if you like.
To make a tasty sauce. You can use low sodium vegetable broth if you are on a low sodium diet.
Salt and pepper
We like to use sea salt, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. You can add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat.
Optional; you can serve chickpea and pasta dish with a sprinkle of grated parmesan (or dairy-free parmesan) on top.
You can substitute pecorino cheese for parmesan.
Note: parmesan doesn't go in the dish in the Italian recipe, but only on top, at the discretion of the person who eats the stew.
Add-ins are optional and not authentic. They don't appear in the original Italian recipe, however they are still delicious.
- Potatoes: peel them, chop them into ½ inch dice, and add them in with the chickpeas.
- Kale: rinse, chop, and add in with the chickpeas.
- Spinach: rinse, and add in with the pasta.
- Carrots and celery: finely chopp, and add in with the onion.
To a large skillet, pot, or dutch oven, gently fry the finely chopped onion for 4 minutes, then add grated garlic, rosemary, and tomato paste and fry for one more minute.
Add rinsed chickpeas, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, and black pepper.
Bring to a boil, then and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the stew from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Discard the rosemary sprig, take one cup of chickpeas from the skillet and blend it.
You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender. Add ½ cup of vegetable broth if required.
Add the blended chickpeas back into the skillet, add the pasta, stir, and simmer for ten more minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente.
You can add more vegetable broth if the sauce is too thick for your taste.
Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Pasta e ceci is a nutrition soup/main dish that goes well with a light side dish of greens or veggies:
- Roasted eggplant with garlic and fresh herbs
- Fork-tender roasted broccoli florets
- Easy 5-minute side salad with crispy greens
- Shaved Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and mustard dressing
Pasta e Fagioli (pasta and beans)
Pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans) is another delicious and comforting Italian recipe perfect for a nourishing, wholesome, and tasty family dinner.
Making it is easy, and you can use your favorite beans.
Check out our pasta e fagioli recipe.
You'll love lentil pasta because it's easy to make with green or brown lentils and has a rich and earthy taste.
It's also super nutritious and healthy, with plenty of plant protein to keep you full for longer.
Check out our lentil pasta recipe.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The pasta will absorb most of the liquid, and the dish will get quite thick. Reheat with a dash of water, either in a pot or in the microwave.
Freezer: this recipe is not the best for freezing because the pasta will get mushy once thawed. If you don't mind, you can freeze it in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months, then reheat it in the microwave.
More chickpea recipes
If you love cooking with chickpeas, take inspiration from these easy and plant-based meals:
- Easy hummus with dried or canned chickpeas
- 15-minute chickpea salad with fresh veggies
- Chickpea curry: easy to make and perfect for weekdays
- Quick chickpea tuna with homemade mayonnaise
More pasta recipes
Get more family-friendly pasta ideas with these 30-minute dinner recipes:
- Broccoli pasta with a mashing technique and ultra-creamy sauce
- Aglio e olio: the simplest pasta recipe with just 5 ingredients
- Chickpea pasta salad: a meal-prep-friendly reader favorite
- Pasta Pomodoro with a 20-minute tomato sauce
For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.
Pasta with Chickpeas (Pasta e Ceci)
- Immersion blender or regular blender.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 sprig rosemary
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (15-ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 4 - 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cans (15-ounces each) chickpeas or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas
- 1½ cup ditalini pasta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 - 6 tablespoons grated parmesan or dairy-free cheese (optional)
- In a large skillet gently fry the finely chopped onion for 4 minutes.Add grated garlic, rosemary, and tomato paste and fry for one more minute.
- Add rinsed chickpeas, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, and black pepper.Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Discard the rosemary sprig, take one cup of chickpeas from the skillet and blend it.You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender. Add ½ cup of vegetable broth if required.
- Add the blended chickpeas back into the skillet, add the pasta, stir, and simmer for ten more minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente.You can add more vegetable broth if the sauce is too thick for your taste.
- Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and optionally a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
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