Have you tried pasta e ceci before? This Italian pasta and chickpea stew is a classic Italian recipe bursting with wonderful flavours. So if you’re looking for true comfort food from Italy, you have to give this easy dish a try.
This delicious chickpea soup boasts a variety of flavours from bacon to garlic, rosemary, tomatoes, and more. It’s an iconic recipe from Italy which is nutritious as well as hearty and satisfying. This pasta e ceci recipe will get rave reviews.
Pasta e Ceci Ingredients
Pasta e ceci is Italian for ‘pasta and chickpeas’ so you already know what two of the ingredients are! Both of these ingredients are staples in many Italian dishes. I typically use dried pasta shells when preparing this comfort food stew but you can use another shape if you want. Any short pasta like small shells or ditalini pasta work well.
Traditional recipes will use dried chickpeas but canned chickpeas perform surprisingly well and will save a lot of time. If you want to use dried chickpeas, you will have to soak them and cook them before starting this recipe. Cooked chickpeas, usually sold in jars, also taste great in this recipe. No matter what type of chickpea you use, it will turn out absolutely delicious!
This soup also calls for chicken broth as the base along with kale. If you want more of a soup than a stew, use extra chicken broth. This Italian comfort food can be served either way.
Some Italian pasta and chickpea stew recipes use escarole and you can sub that for the kale if you prefer. I like escarole better actually but it’s not always easy to find, so just see what your local market has in stock. As with many Italian classics, it is a very versatile recipe.
Garlic, bacon and onion add hearty flavours to this classic Italian recipe. Bacon isn’t a must-have but I do like it in there because it adds a meaty taste. White wine, tomato paste, parmesan cheese, and fresh rosemary add even more dimensions to the overall flavour.
How to Prepare Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew
It’s fair to say this is a soup, a stew and a pasta dish, just in case you wondered! It’s up to you how much broth you add. It’s heartier with less broth and lighter with more, so you can adjust the amounts as you wish.
Chop the bacon and fry it then remove the bacon from the pot (I use a dutch oven), leaving the grease in there. Sauté the onions in the bacon grease for a few minutes. Next you can add the chickpeas, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook the chickpea soup until the garlic is aromatic.
Stir in the tomato paste then the wine and broth. Scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring the pasta e ceci to a boil. Once the pasta is al dente, you can add the kale and parmesan. Adjust the seasonings if required then serve hot topped with the bacon. Freshly ground black pepper is always a nice addition. If you have a parmesan rind, you can always add that to the soup, too.
Pasta e Ceci Serving Ideas
This classic Italian recipe can be served in a large or small bowl, depending on whether you want to enjoy it as a snack, appetizer or main course.
I like crusty bread with Italian chickpea soup because you can use it to mop up every last bit of this wonderful Italian chickpea dish. Just before serving, you might like to sprinkle some more grated parmesan cheese or grated pecorino cheese over the soup and add a rosemary sprig. This is sure to become one of your favourite Italian chickpea recipes!
Chickpea Soup Variations
If you want a big of zing to this chickpea soup, add some red pepper flakes or chili flakes to this saucy tomato pasta dish. To make this a gluten free soup, use gluten free pasta in it.
Italian Chickpea Soup FAQs
Trace this chickpea soup back and you will find it used to be a peasant meal in Roman times. As you might expect, there are lots of variations on this comfort food today and every Italian family has their own way of preparing it. Pasta and chickpeas always feature in the dish but the other flavours can change.
Some home cooks might use vegetable broth or different vegetables such as carrots or squash. Throw in some baby spinach a couple of minutes before the end of cooking to add nutrients and extra flavour.
Other cooks might omit the bacon and add a splash of olive oil for richness instead. A little good quality virgin olive oil drizzled on top before serving is really good. Instead of bacon you could use pancetta or Italian sausage.
Leftover pasta soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days but you will notice it thickens up. This is because the pasta absorbs the liquid. If it’s very thick, add some more broth when you heat it back up the next day to thin it back down again.
It also freezes well but if you’re planning to freeze this comfort food, leave out the pasta else it will get mushy when you thaw it. Just add the pasta separately when you are ready to cook it.
You will love how this classic Italian recipe falls between a stew and saucy tomato pasta. It has a thick, saucy broth and satisfying bites of pasta and protein-rich chickpeas. The best of both worlds! The hearty chickpeas and tender pasta cook in a tomato rich broth resulting in a tasty meal in just over 30 minutes.
Pasta e Ceci – Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew Recipe
Pasta e Ceci – Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew
- 5 Cups chicken broth
- 1 Can chickpeas 15 Ounces, drained
- 4-5 Cups kale chopped
- 4-5 Cloves garlic chopped
- 4 Pieces bacon
- 1 Cup pasta dry shell
- 1 onion chopped
- ½ Cup white wine
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ Cup parmesan cheese shredded
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Sprig rosemary fresh
- Cut the bacon into small bite sized pieces and place in the bottom of a soup pot or dutch oven. Cook the bacon then remove it from the pot, leaving the rendered bacon fat in the pot. Set the bacon aside.
- Add the onions to the soup pot and saute in the bacon fat until translucent, then add the chickpeas, chopped garlic, 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper. Saute until the garlic has cooked.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and mix into the chickpeas and onions. Let cook for a couple minutes, stirring often.
- Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of white wine, then add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, pour in the dry pasta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, cook the soup until the pasta is tender.
- Add the chopped kale and parmesan cheese. Give the soup a taste, add any additional salt or pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately, garnish with the bacon and more parmesan.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Pasta e ceci is a delicious, comfort food style dish which is like a cross between a soup, a stew and a pasta dish. This classic Italian recipe is hearty and warming and makes a great lunch or evening meal. Italian chickpea stew is sure to become a favourite!
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.