One-Pot Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpeas)

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpeas) is a perennial favorite in Rome. One taste of this one-pot wonder and you’ll see why. Canned chickpeas simmer to soft, buttery perfection while the pasta cooks alongside in a hearty tomato-based broth. Vegetarian (but easily vegan) and ready in around 45 minutes.

overhead shot of pasta e ceci with bowtie pasta in dutch oven on blue background

My most favorite minimalist meals are the ones that I can make on Sunday and eat all week long and not be mad about it. The dishes that cook in one pot and get better over the week are my true champions — and this, friends, is one of them. 

Behold the best One-Pot Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpeas) recipe. It’s part soup, part pasta (ok, mostly pasta) and has the softest, most buttery chickpeas of. all. time.

overhead shot of pasta e ceci with bowtie pasta in dutch oven on blue background

This dish is an Italian staple through and through — so much so that Romans (yes, like the entire region in Italy) have it on their weekly meal plan not once but twice a week!  

By the way, can we have a moment to celebrate the fact that entire regions in Italy have their own weekly meal plans that they’ve been following for centuries? I mean, their food is some of the best in the world, so I get it. Not only do I get it — I love it. So minimalist! Not sure I’m ready for a life-long meal plan just yet though, so I’ll stick with my monthly meal plan for now. 

Back to this beautiful ol’ pot of buttery, saucy, chickpeas, though. Everyone needs it in their life, says me and the entire region of Rome.

close up of pasta and chickpeas with bowtie pasta in dutch oven on blue background

So what are you waiting for? Grab your garbanzo beans and get cooking!

How to Make Pasta e Ceci

First, start by building flavor with aromatics, also known as carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. The optional but somewhat life-changing addition I’ve made to this recipe is miso paste. Sounds weird but trust me, the bold umami flavor it adds is second to none. Unless you were born and raised in Rome, I promise you, add a little miso paste and you won’t even notice I left out the pancetta. 

Then go in the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth and chickpeas with their liquid. If you’re tempted to add the pasta, don’t do it! Bring it to a boil, cover, and rapidly simmer the chickpeas for 15 minutes first to give them a creamy softness — then add your pasta.

Speaking of… Ditalini is traditionally used in Pasta e Ceci, but I love a good bowtie, and so do the kids! You can totally substitute the bowties for ditalini or another small pasta like macaroni. Since the pasta cooks directly in the pot (hear, hear, one-pot wonder!), the key to not messing up the pasta-to-everything-else ratio is to substitute by weight, not volume.

Simmer the pasta, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Keep in mind the pasta will continue to absorb liquid so keep adding additional water or broth as needed to adjust the consistency of the dish. 

Pasta and Chickpeas Serving Suggestions

Some people like more of a soup consistency, while others (that’s me!) prefer it thick, more like a pasta dish. Depending on your family’s preference, you may want to add a little water or broth to make it more soup-like before serving.

Also, you mustn’t forget the Parmesan cheese. I’m not even gonna say you have to freshly grate it because half the time I use store-bought myself. If you’re going the pre-grated route, grab it from the fresh cheese section of the grocery store and not a canister of Kraft. Nothing against canister Parmesan (seriously, I grew up on it) but it has anti-caking additives that will mess with the texture and meltability of the cheese. 

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Recipe

One-Pot Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpeas)

In this simple but hearty, veggie-filled pasta dish, canned chickpeas simmer to soft, buttery perfection while the pasta cooks alongside in a hearty tomato-based broth. Vegetarian (but easily vegan) and ready in around 45 minutes.

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    50 minutes
  • Makes:
    46 servings 1x
  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    50 minutes
  • Makes:
    46 servings 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1/2 medium onion, diced
    • 2 large stalks celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste (optional; see notes)
    • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
    • 1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, not drained
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried)
    • 2, 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), not drained
    • 8 ounces bowtie pasta (see notes)
    • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (see notes)

    Instructions

    1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, occasionally stirring, until onions soften, about 5 minutes.
    2. Whisk in the miso paste (optional), broth, diced tomatoes, rosemary, and chickpeas and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat back to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
    3. Add the pasta and cook uncovered another 15 minutes, or until vegetables and pasta are tender. If needed, add additional broth or water as the pasta cooks.  
    4. For an extra creamy dish, puree 1 cup of cooked pasta and chickpea mixture in a high powered blender until smooth. Return it to the pot and stir well to incorporate. 
    5. Stir in Parmesan cheese, again adding more liquid to adjust the consistency if needed. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    • Staub Dutch Oven (affiliate link)

    Ingredient Notes

    • Miso paste: Here miso paste adds bold umami flavor in lieu of traditional pancetta.
    • Pasta: If substituting ditalini for another small pasta, substitute by weight, not volume.
    • To make soy-free: Omit miso paste.
    • To make vegan: Use vegetable broth and omit the cheese.

    Prep Ahead

    • Chop carrots, celery and onion up to 5 days in advance
    • Pre-measure other ingredients pasta, miso paste, rosemary, etc.

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help:

    • Toddlers: Peel garlic; add celery, carrots and onion to a cool pot; measure the pasta & miso paste; add the pasta (closely supervised of course!)
    • Little Kids: Peel the carrots, open canned garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes; whisk in miso, garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, and broth;
    • Big Kids: All of the above + chopping celery, carrots, onions; dicing garlic

    Freezing Tips

    This Pasta e Ceci can be frozen, but it’s best to separate the portion you want to freeze before adding the pasta to prevent it from getting overly mushy.

    • To freeze: Make a double batch and ladle out half just before adding the pasta. Allow it to cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
    • To reheat: Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. To reheat, bring the soup to a full boil, add the pasta and cook pasta to desired doneness.

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition calculated without the optional miso paste, though it’s highly recommended.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe (about 2 cups)
    • Calories: 403
    • Sugar: 6 g
    • Sodium: 1170 mg
    • Fat: 11 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 9 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 60 g
    • Fiber: 10 g
    • Protein: 16 g
    • Cholesterol: 5 mg

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