Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

Grandma sure knew how to stretch a great meal and this is one of them! Italian Pasta Ceci, which is Italian for pasta and gabanazo beans. This is an old world favorite, cooking an Italian dish with pasta and beans.

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

Grandma use to call this depression food. It was inexpensive. She would buy the chickpeas dry and soak them overnight.

 I still do that method, however I put them in the slow cooker overnight and in the morning just drain them. They are so nice and soft. I love them that way.

When I was little I would pick out the chickpeas, I didn't like beans at all, just the pasta. Now I balance out more beans that pasta since I love the chickpeas more.

Go figure. We grow up and appreciate foods and see things a whole lot differently when we miss our history.

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

When I try to recreate the flavors she had, I was thankful I was 19 when she passed away and that she lived until she was 92 to watch her cook. I always watched what she did. Then my dad took over with the cooking.

He was an awesome cook. Dad would use all fresh herbs from the garden. He used canned chickpeas but the sauce was fabulous, he really nailed it.

I think it was the red wine he put in it and not water. It was a delightful memory I will always cherish.

I can still remember the olive oil and smell of fresh garlic sizzling in the pan before he put in the tomato paste. I always use that same method.

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

There is nothing better to warm you up on a chilly day.

The snow was very bitter and the winters were fierce in Upstate Utica, New York back when I was a child.

We had blizzards that kept us inside for days. Snow up to 6 feet high.

These are the meals we cherished the most to warm us up.
Grandma lived with us when Grandpa passed away. I was only 7.

She would cook, I would watch,  and mom would work all day at the local P & C market as a deli manager to come home to a hot meal. Dad worked at Ma Bell Att at the time night shifts.

Somehow or another I really got to love cooking at a very young age 11 actually. My first attempt was baking brownies from a Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I still have it.

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

If you aren't a fan of chickpeas, of course you can add another kind of bean. This is very much like a pasta fagioli.

Delicious with any kind of beans, cannellini, peas, navy beans, black beans, whatever you like. It's the sauce that makes this dish irresistible.

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

The sauce is thick, delicious and perfect with a hard crusted loaf of Italian bread  to sop up the sauce with and for all my vino drinkers, get a good bottle of Chianti.

Ciao for now, enjoy Grandma's recipe.

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

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Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)


In a food processor add or of you like chop by hand :
1/2 cup fresh celery leaves 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Puree till a fine mixture.

In a large deep sauce pan, add the oil mixture, heat, add:
2 (14 to 15 oz size) cans of chickpeas , saute with garlic till starting to brown.
3 cloves finely minced cleaned garlic
When the garlic is light brown add 1 small can of tomato paste + fill can with red wine or water to stir out the leftover paste
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, oregano
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley fresh basil and more for garnishing
1 can of chicken broth
1 cup water
leave for the end
2 fresh basil leaves left whole for garnish (optional)
1 cup of  fresh whole tomatoes or  fresh plum tomatoes pureed in food processor
Cook until sauce thickens around 1 1/2 hours on low. Add basil and stir.
Garnish with locatelli grated cheese

 Linguine,Vermicelli Ditalini or Baby shells:
Open  and use a 1/2 lb box of vermicelli or (other pasta of choice) . Using half of the box, break into bite size pieces, taking the long pasta and snipping the ends around 1/2 in size, place in a bowl while cutting up your pasta(this was always my job as a little girl).  Add  the broken up pasta to a pot of salted  boiling water. Boil till desired doneness.

Drain pasta and add to the sauce mixture. Serve with Italian Bread. enjoy!
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  1. What a terrific recipe! So many nice childhood memories, too---you were lucky to have two generations from which to learn cooking and life lessons!

  2. Simple yet very delicious and comforting!

  3. Good to see you back to posting Claudia


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