Italian Pasta Ceci is an Italian dish know here in America as Pasta and Chickpeas. Grandma sure knew how to stretch a great meal and this dish, as it fed alot of people. She always made a huge pot for the whole family. This is an old fashioned Italian favorite I grew up on.
Grandma use to call this depression food. It was inexpensive. She would buy the chickpeas dry and soak them overnight getting them ready to make a huge pot to feed the whole family with. Back then she would even make all her pasta homemade. We often used dried ditalini for this dish, but whatever pasta you have on hand it perfectly fine.
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.
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.
There is nothing better to warm you up on a chilly day.
The snow was very bitter cold 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.
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.
Remember, use any pasta you like cooked to package instructions, drained then added to the sauce and beans mixture.
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.