Pasta and Chickpeas 


(“Pasta con Ceci” – “Pasta chi Ciciri”)

 

                            ceci

 

Chickpeas grow abundantly in Sicily and for centuries it was the staple food for the working class, the peasants in the countryside and the laborers in the big cities. When the ruling of the Greeks and Romans ended, the conditions in Sicily improved and chickpeas became part of every day food along with fish, game and meat.
Chickpeas are used to make fritters, the panelle, also as side dishes, mixed in salads or with pasta to make a soup in the winter months. Cook the pasta with the chickpeas in order to get the homemade taste like the dish that grandma used to make!..
Today on your supermarket shelves you can find preserved chickpeas ready to use, successfully canned and retaining their quality and nutritional value. 

 

SERVES 4

 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ lb. ditalini or any short and small pasta
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 lb. dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

 

PREPARATION

The Beans
Inspect dry chickpeas for any small stones or foreign articles, rinse well two times and place in a 6 quart sauce pot with 4 quarts of water. Soak overnight.

The next day leave the chickpeas in the soaking water and if needed add enough water to cover 2 inches above the chickpeas.  Add sliced onion and rosemary, bring to a boil then simmer covered between 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

                                Ceci - Chickpeas
If using canned chickpeas, sauté the onions, add chickpeas and rosemary. Add water to cover1 inch above chickpeas and bring to a boil then simmer covered 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Keep a pot with boiling water, to add to chickpea soup for cooking the pasta or if chickpea soup becomes too dry. Liquid should be 1 inch above chickpeas at all times


                         ceci 2

 

Simmer chickpeas until soft but not overcooked, then set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and black pepper to your taste. Cool a few minutes, remove rosemary, transfer 1/3 of chickpeas to a vegetable strainer or a blender, puree them and return them to the pot.

 

                                 Pasta e Ceci

 

The Pasta e Ceci
Add 2 cups of hot water to the pot with chickpeas, bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook pasta and chickpeas over a medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom. . If it becomes to dry add some hot water. When pasta is tender, remove from the heat, adjust for salt and serve immediately.
Garnish with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on each portion. Serve crushed red pepper on the side.

 

NOTE

If using canned chickpeas, sauté the onions, add chickpeas and rosemary. Add enough water to cover 1 inch above chickpeas, bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Cool a few minutes, remove rosemary, transfer 1/3 of chickpeas to a vegetable strainer or a blender, puree them and return them to the pot. Then follow above instructions.

                              Ceci