Chickpea and Pasta Soup (Pasta e Ceci)

by jenna on March 18, 2015

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By the title, this soup might seem deceptively plain. Another chickpea soup recipe. Womp womp.

However, I’m here today to tell you this is NOT just “another” chickpea soup recipe. This soup is special. I’m convinced it has magic powers, actually. The simple ingredients (that most likely already have in your pantry) combine to create something utterly mouth watering and delicious. And, please. I don’t know if I’ve ever called a chickpea dish mouth watering, but it rings true here.

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Since I found the original recipe in a Nigella Lawson cookbook (she claims to have gotten it from another traditional Italian cookbook), I’ve been making it practically once a week. We celebrate “Meatless Mondays” around here, have for a few months now, and this soup has been on the weekly rotation for awhile now. I know I should branch out, that there are many more vegetarian recipes begging to be cooked, but this is just so good.

Not only do I love it, but my husband and baby also love it! The first few times I made this, when Grayson was a little younger, I would puree the leftovers and stuff baby food pouches full for the little guy. He ADORED it and always had a huge smile on his face when I fed it to him. Nowadays, I don’t puree anymore since the pasta and chickpeas are so soft. I drizzle his with olive oil, add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and he’s set.

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Usually I make my own broth but I’ve just been so busy lately I haven’t had a chance. You’ll need a quart and a half of the best chicken broth, veggie stock or beef broth you can get your hands on. In a pinch, water works fine.

Now, the really special thing is the preparation of the chickpeas. Please…don’t even bother making this soup if you used canned chickpeas. Just don’t. Make channa masala or something else delicious and save this for when you have dried chickpeas and some time on your hands. Chickpeas need a heck of a long time to cook, so plan on simmering this soup for a good two hours. The great thing, though, is that it can be made in advance (up to the point of adding the pasta) and tastes even better the next day! I know the soaking overnight (don’t try a quick soak for this one) and long cooking time might sound tedious, but I promise you it’s worth it. These chickpeas literally melt in your mouth.

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You’ll need lots of fresh rosemary and garlic here! Four big fat cloves, to be exact. I love how such simple homey ingredients can produce such a fabulous dish in the end.

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And so you don’t end up with rosemary needles floating in your soup, it’s best to tie up the rosemary either in cheesecloth or use a jelly bag like the above photo. I get my jelly bags at the local hardware store to assist in my canning projects, and I’ve seen cheesecloth at every grocery store I’ve been to.

Serve bowls with extra olive oil and Parmesan cheese! The first few times I made this, I used whole tomatoes that I had canned myself last summer and the results were sublime. I’m out of canned tomatoes now (huge sigh) so the kind from the grocery store does just fine.

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Chickpea and Pasta Soup

serves 4

adapted from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup dried chickpeas

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp salt

1.5 quarts chicken broth, vegetable stock, beef broth or water

2 rosemary sprigs

4 large cloves garlic, peeled and flattened with a knife

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice

1/2 cup ditalini pasta

fresh chopped parsley for serving

additional olive oil for serving

Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

Place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover generously with cold water. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and drizzle in just enough water to make a runny paste. Pour this mixture into the chickpeas and water. Mix together, cover with plastic wrap and set to soak overnight or 24 hours.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse them well. Place the chickpeas in a large pot and add the stock, garlic cloves and two tablespoons of olive oil. Tie up the rosemary sprigs in cheesecloth or (like I do) put them in a jelly bag (available at hardware stores, amazon or some grocery stores) and loop the sides of the bag through the pot handles so it doesn’t all fall in. You’re going for lots of rosemary flavor here without all the piny needles floating in the soup.

Cover the pot tightly and bring to a boil. Listen for a boil rather than opening the pot. When you’re pretty sure you hear it boiling, turn the heat down very low. Don’t open the pot. Simmer at a very low temperature for 1.5-2 hours.

After two hours, you may open the pot and try a chickpea. They literally should be so soft that they melt in your mouth. If they don’t melt in your mouth, continue simmering for another 30 minutes or so. Remove the rosemary and the garlic cloves.

Blend the whole peeled tomatoes to a smooth puree. Add this to the soup and stir. Season with salt and pepper. At this point, you may take the soup off the stove and store it in the fridge for up to three days before eating. If you plan to eat right away (or that evening), bring the soup to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta! 🙂

Stir in remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and add more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Time:

total time – 24 hours

active time – 3 hours

 

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

!Maryea {happy healthy mama} March 18, 2015 at 3:52 am

I am definitely trying this! I always have these ingredients on hand–I love simple recipes that deliver big flavor. This sounds perfect for rainy spring days!

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Kay @ goaloflosing.com March 18, 2015 at 4:40 am

This sounds great! And thanks for mentioning that we shouldn’t take the short cut of using canned chick peas, because that’s totally something I would have tried. 😉

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Tom @ Raise Your Garden March 18, 2015 at 4:49 am

Haha, shortcut man here too so that is a good tip! Don’t tell my wife, but I would totally eat this! And it sounds like your husband and baby liked it. In the past, I’ve given her so much trouble about eating chickpeas but they do have a lot of protein and I’m a hungry hungry man all the time and need that. And rosemary and garlic is the dynamic duo, this looks awesome! (I’m even tempted to say cowabunga dude from the days when I used to play with teenage mutant turtles) But yes, those days are long gone.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 18, 2015 at 4:43 am

Sign me right up for this one! I’m moving in less than 2 weeks and am in the process of eating down the contents of my kitchen cupboards. I’ve got TONS of chickpeas so this will be a great way to put them to use. Thanks Jenna!

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Zarrah Jane March 18, 2015 at 4:47 am

Looks yummy
Thanks for sharing the recipe
XO

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Liz @ I Heart Vegetables March 18, 2015 at 4:51 am

Just pinned this for the next time I have dried chickpeas on hand!

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Bridget March 18, 2015 at 5:09 am

Looks good! But, as a vegetarian, I have to point out that it’s not exactly meatless if you use chicken broth.

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Molly March 18, 2015 at 5:13 am

Wow. A whole tablespoon of salt?

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Laura March 18, 2015 at 6:39 am

That’s for soaking the beans. The salt helps breakdown the tough skins and helps them soften when you cook them. And then you rinse off the salty soaking liquid before adding them with the other ingredients 🙂

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Molly March 18, 2015 at 7:13 am

I was wondering if it was something like that. Thanks!

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jenna March 18, 2015 at 7:30 am

The salt gets all rinsed off – it’s just for soaking the chickpeas with.

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Anna March 18, 2015 at 5:54 am
Erin@WellPlated March 18, 2015 at 6:03 am

The simplicity of this soup is one of the things I love most about it! Unfussy, real ingredient comfort food. Perfect!

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simone March 18, 2015 at 6:18 am

Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for this & I make it all the time, I think I’d eat it most days if I thought my family would let me get away with it LOL!

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Susan McClyde March 18, 2015 at 6:20 am

Making this asap – comfort food for sure 🙂

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Jen @ Pretty Little Grub March 18, 2015 at 7:32 am

YUMMMY! Pinning this immediately to make.

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Laura @SheEatsWell March 18, 2015 at 7:35 am

Looks so so good. We make Pasta E Ceci soup at the restaurant I serve at. We add torn lasagna sheet noodles in too. Love the simplicity!

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Anne March 18, 2015 at 7:38 am

Sounds fantastic, definitely will be making this soon!

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Denise March 18, 2015 at 8:47 am

Cooked my version of pasta e ceci today! I would venture giving a few tips/changes as how it is really done in Italy and Malta.
No canned tomatoes but a spoonful of tomato paste and some turmeric
Fry the rosemary and garlic in the olive oil and add when about to turn off cooker – if liked a fillet or two of salt-cured anchovies or good anchovy paste is great.
When buying parmesan never throw away the crust – use when cooking legumes/pulses.
Black pepper/Peperoncino (chilli) does the trick
Grated parmesan not really necessary not to cover the sweet taste.
When ready take a cupful of the chickpeas and liquid nad puree and throw back in pan to get a creamy look.
As Laura suggests broken lasage are good too.
Always boil the pasta on its own and add to the chickpeas for the lat 2 or 3 minutes.Buon appetito 🙂

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nickee March 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

yum thank you for this. And Jenna thanks for posting! 🙂

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kristin | W [H] A T C H March 18, 2015 at 9:19 am

this looks so perfectly cozy.

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dixya | food, pleasure, and health March 18, 2015 at 10:31 am

since it takes a while for chickpeas to get cooked, i wonder if i can make this in crockpot..im going to try it this week.

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Jackie March 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Please let us know how it turns out-from a fellow crock-potter!

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isabelle March 19, 2015 at 5:54 am

I was thinking to do the same thing…

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genevieve March 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm

I’m totally trying this recipe, my youngest almost only eats soups so… picky eater doesn’t even start to describe her 🙁

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Barbara March 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

This looks perfect…I’ll definitely be trying it! Sunday night I made (for the second time) your curry butternut squash red lentil soup, and Monday night I made (for the second time) your gingerbread. I’ve been (happily) living off them all week. I adore them both!!

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Chicago Jogger March 18, 2015 at 6:44 pm

This looks like all of my favorite things…. I love chickpeas!

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Sarah @ O-HI-30 March 19, 2015 at 7:47 am

Do the garlic cloves just kind of dissolve in the soup?

My father is Israeli and we make homemade hummus from dried chickpeas – have to use the real deal, not canned!

Thanks!

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sarah March 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

Looks wonderful–what does the flour and baking soda mixture do for the soaking chickpeas? Thanks!

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jenna March 19, 2015 at 9:27 am

Tenderizes the chickpeas!

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Rachel @ My Urban Oven March 19, 2015 at 9:55 am

This looks like homemade spaghetti- o’s, but the healthy kind! I will be making this soon, maybe even tomorrow for lent!

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Maddie@Dixie Runs March 19, 2015 at 10:40 am

Yum I am definitely trying this!! I love chickpeas but am running out of ways to prepare them… I’ve never even thought of a soup!

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Laurel March 19, 2015 at 1:31 pm

I’ve never made anything with fresh chickpeas before but this looks like a good place to start! I think my 9-month old might fall in love with this too. 🙂

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Sarah March 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

I make big batches of beans in a crock pot. Can I use the beans I made in the crock pot in this or just save some raw ones and cook it in the soup?! My son loves these noodles and loves beans so this would be perfect for him. He’s currently shoveling pasta fagioli into his mouth hhaha

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Julie March 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I cook beans and macaroni all the time (very similar to this.. pasta e fagioli) but have never used dried beans. I’ve always steered away because of the long soaking time. I think I’m going to try this though!! Is the difference in the texture?

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Eein March 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

This is so delicious! I made a double batch and froze the garbanzo/tomato part. Thanks Jenna!

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Taca @ A Side Of Dessert March 23, 2015 at 11:43 am

I’m making this recipe as we speak. It’s about 30 minutes away from being done. The smell in my house is killing! I’ve been drooling for the past 1.5 hours. Thank you, thank youuuu for sharing 😀

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Christina March 24, 2015 at 5:55 am

This soup is fabulous!!! Totally worth using dried chickpeas instead of canned!

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Britton March 24, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Followed the recipe…it was delicious and incredibly easy!

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Hope March 28, 2015 at 9:11 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and it’s SO GOOD. I set a reminder on my phone last night to soak the chickpeas. 🙂

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jenna March 31, 2015 at 2:21 pm

hey jenna, thanks for the recipe! im wondering about cooking the pasta if im going to make this recipe for lunches over the week. should i cook the pasta separately and add in a bit when im heating it up for lunch? im assuming the pasta will get too soft if cooked the method you mentioned above. thanks 🙂

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jenna April 1, 2015 at 9:46 am

Yep, I would definitely cook the pasta separately 🙂

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Amberle March 31, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I finally got the chance to make this soup tonight and it is AMAZING! Before I knew it, two bowls were gone. I had to put the rest of the soup away in the fridge for fear I would eat the entire pot tonight. Thank you for the great recipe!

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Lauren March 31, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Is that really supposed to be 1.5 quarts of stock? I just made this soup exactly as the recipe states and there seems to be way too much liquid. It looks nothing like the ratio of liquid to beans/pasta that you have in your pictures.

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Tammy April 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Hi Jenna,

Would you recommend freezing this? And would you do anything special to freeze it?

It’s on the stove now ready for noodles. I love how tender those chickpeas are! It’s really like magic!

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Christina @ Every Little Thing She Does April 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I made this last night with some garlic bread! So good! I’m also glad to read that Grayson loves it. My baby girl is nine weeks and I can’t wait to make this for her one day! Thanks for the recipe, Jenna!

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Ashley April 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

I made this on Friday for dinner! It was absolutely delicious! I loved it! Thank you for sharing. I never thought I would love chickpeas as much as I do now!

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Kate April 14, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for the great recipe! I have to admit: I didn’t plan ahead and soak my chickpeas overnight. I did a shortcut soak – brought the chickpeas and soaking liquid to a boil, then let rest covered for 4 hours. I then rinsed my chickpeas and proceeded as directed (with a parmesan rind in the pot, thanks for the suggestion Denise!). My chickpeas were perfectly, meltingly tender in 1.5 hours. Just wanted to let others know in case they forgot to set up the overnight soak!

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Laura April 20, 2015 at 9:24 am

we are having this tonight! The chickpeas are simmering with the garlic and rosemary right and it smells divine.

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Katie April 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

I have never used chickpeas so this might be a dumb question – but do you need to put the chickpeas in the fridge to soak or do you just leave them on the counter? I think my three year old would enjoy this soup 🙂 Thanks!

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Laura April 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm

This is so dorky to be live-commenting making this recipe, but whatever, I’ve had a lot of coffee today. Jenna, these chickpeas are MAGIC! They are so soft and buttery. OMG.

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