Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew)
There is an incredible number of recipes for this classic Roman dish, and everyone has an opinion on how it should be prepared. This version is more stew than soup, but it can be loosened up with a bit more water if you prefer. It begins with sautéing onion, tomatoes, garlic and rosemary in olive oil, then tossing in the chickpeas, and smashing a few to give the stew a creamy texture. Water is added, then uncooked pasta, which cooks as the stew simmers (and results in one less dish for you wash). Escarole is folded in right before serving. This flexible stew can go in a number of directions, so tweak it as you see fit, but don’t forget to finish each bowl with grated pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil. Ciao.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1packed cup canned whole tomatoes, drained
- 1(15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1cup ditalini
- 4cups roughly chopped escarole, Tuscan kale or radicchio
- Grated pecorino, for serving
Step 1Heat the oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not taking on any color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and red-pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute more. Season well with salt and pepper.
Step 2Stir in the tomatoes and the chickpeas, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon or spatula and smashing about 1/2 cup of the beans.
Step 3Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high. Add the pasta and simmer, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. The water will mostly be absorbed by the pasta, but if you prefer it brothier, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup water and simmer until warmed through, 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 4Add the escarole and stir until wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Ladle into bowls and top with grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.