Italian Pasta Ceci

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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.

Utica New York Style Italian Pasta Ceci Chickpeas and Pasta old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

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.

Italian Pasta Ceci  Chickpeas and Pasta old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

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  old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

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.

Italian Pasta Ceci Chickpeas and Pasta old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

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 old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

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.

Italian Pasta Ceci simmering in a pot   old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

Italian Pasta Ceci  old fashioned garbanzo beans with macaroni

Italian Pasta Ceci (Chickpeas and Pasta)


In a food processor add or of you like chop by hand :
4 to 5  fresh celery leaves 
3 tablespoons water
2 cloves fresh cleaned garlic
Puree till a fine mixture.

In a large deep sauce pan, add the oil mixture above on low, heat, add:
2 (14 to 15 oz size) cans of chickpeas or freshly made beans , saute with garlic mixture till just to coat with flavors

When the garlic starts to turn 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 ( we like more garlic flavor you can add more fresh if you like)
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley fresh basil and save more for garnishing
1 can of chicken broth
1 cup water
2 lbs fresh whole tomatoes or  fresh plum tomatoes pureed in food processor or use 1 - 28 ounce can.

Cook until sauce thickens around 1 1/2 hours on low. Add basil and stir.

Add at  the very end for garnishing:
garnish with fresh basil leaves or fresh parsley chopped on top
1 cup of  fresh whole tomatoes or  fresh plum tomatoes pureed in food processor

Garnish with romano parmesan blended grated cheese

 Make you favorite pasta to package instructions: suggestions are broken Linguine,Vermicelli.  or Ditalini . You can also use Baby shells

Open  and use a 1/2 lb box of (vermicelli  used in photo)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  to package instructions.

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

  4. I love this recipe but what I love the most is how you write about it Claudia. Your descriptives make me want to make and eat this! I'm definitely going to give the sauce a try. I love how you fill the tomato paste can with wine :) Just so old fashioned and when I make it, I will chop by hand just to be sure I'm staying old fashioned. lol

  5. I love cherished family recipes like this. I've never actually had this particular dish - pasta with chickpeas. I'll have to try it.

  6. I just started liking chickpeas so I'm always looking for new ways to eat them. This recipe looks perfect and delicious. I can't wait to try it!

  7. this recipe sounds wonderful - cant wait to make some!

  8. looks so delicious! Would love to try it!

  9. This is something different! Loves the use if chicpeas in this pasta recipe..great way to add protein !

  10. Sounds like you come from a family of good cooks! So nice that they passed on traditions to you. My son (an adult) still doesn't like chickpeas, but I love them! I never knew this was an Italian dish!

  11. This looks delicious. My hubby is allergic to basil, so I may give this a shot using cilantro!

  12. What a great comfort meal!! Very warming!


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