Pasta e Ceci | Pasta with Chickpeas

Pasta e Ceci | Pasta with Chickpeas


Chickpeas have been on the trendy list the last couple of years and rightfully so! I enjoy eating them in Indian dishes, salads, soups, and of course – hummus, but my real love of this awesome legume started as a child. Pasta e ceci, or pasta with chickpeas, was eaten regularly in our house. Dried chickpeas, beans, and lentils are a staple in any Italian pantry after all. Try this pasta with chickpeas recipe and you will probably add them to your pantries as well!

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I fondly remember my nonna cooking a big clay pot of chickpeas over the fire all day long. This was typically a winter dish as the fireplace was in the kitchen and that was also the only heat source they had in the house. As I mentioned in the post about eggs with tomato and onion, she cooked a LOT at once! My nonna was used to having 9 kids and many grandchildren popping in, not to mention feeding the helpers on the farm. I don’t think she ever learned how to just cook for a few people once everyone moved out so yes at times there were chickpeas for days!

With my family of four, I find that 2 cups of dried chickpeas is good for two meals. I use half of the cooked chickpeas for dinner the day I cook them and the other half goes in the freezer for a quick dinner option another night.

Nothing beats cooking over a fire but realistically our houses aren’t set up for it. I tend to bounce between stovetop and the Pampered Chef Quick Cooker. I gotta admit, I am slowly but surely falling in love with the Quick Cooker! If you only buy canned beans and chickpeas because of the time involved in cooking, then a Quick Cooker or Instant Pot will be a game-changer. These pressure cookers cut the time down to a quarter if not even less sometimes! If you still prefer canned chickpeas, no problem! They will be just as delicious.

This is yet another dish that we use frozen roma tomatoes in. I can’t say enough about throwing a few large Ziploc bags of frozen tomatoes in the freezer when they are in season! They are so handy and are the beginning of so many flavour bases, not just in Italian cooking either! Not to mention, really easy and cheap to do. In their growing season, tomatoes are so abundant and even if you have to buy them it will be just a few dollars to have the convenience and freshness all winter long in your freezer. Do it, you will thank us!

southern italian pasta with chickpeas

One last thing – and this comes down to preference I guess, but you don’t want a bowl of pasta with a few chickpeas. The chickpeas are the main part of this, not the pasta so don’t be thinking you need to cook 150grams of pasta per person! Each spoonful should have lots of chickpeas and broth in it. Give it a shot and let us know how you like it!

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Pasta e Ceci | Pasta with Chickpeas STOVE TOP

  • Author: Nonna's Way
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 1x


A healthy and hearty Italian chickpea and pasta recipe.


  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 56 large frozen roma tomatoes chopped & skin removed or 1 1/2 cups pureed tomatoes
  • 6 cups cooked chickpeas (400g dried), or 3X540ml cans of chickpeas
  • boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon salt



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and stir for one minute being careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes or puree and keep on medium-high heat until tomatoes break down completely, about 15 minutes. If using puree cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas and stir together.
  5. Add 2 cups boiling water to cover the chickpeas.
  6. Bring back up to a boil, cover with lid and turn to a simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Cook 3/4 package of a short pasta like ditali or little shells three quarter way according to package directions. Reserve the pasta cooking water.
  8. Add the pasta and 2-3 cups of the reserved water to the chickpeas.
  9. Allow the pasta to cook to al dente and serve immediately with a sprinkle of black pepper.


This recipe makes enough to feed a family of four twice. I like to prepare a double batch of the chickpeas, putting one in the freezer for another time. If you intend to do this, divide the chickpeas after step 6 and set aside for the freezer.

There should be a hefty amount of chickpeas in each spoonful so avoid the temptation to cook a ton of pasta.

If you like a little thicker broth, use a fork to smash some of the cooked chickpeas just before adding the pasta.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 1.5 hours
  • Category: pasta, chickpeas
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: chickpeas, pasta, ceci, italian, nonnas food, italian recipes

Pasta e Ceci | Pasta with Chickpeas


  • Lydia V

    26.02.2021 at 01:35

    Absolutely delicious, ultimate comfort food! Going to be added to my regular menu from now on!

    • Anna Romano

      26.02.2021 at 10:44

      Thank you Lydia! Let us know when you make it! Enjoy!

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