Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Pasta e Ceci con Acciughe alla Romana, Chickpea Pasta with Anchovy Roman-Style

Pasta e Ceci, depending on how much water is used, is more like a thick pasta soup with chickpeas, is a classic filling and nutritious primo piatto made throughout Italy with a different version for each region: in some cases the chickpeas are cooked without tomato, namely ‘in bianco’, sometimes only with a handful of fresh tomatoes or with some tomato sauce, as well as flavoured with herbs or a piece of smoked bacon or chilli pepper or chilli flakes. Or like this one Pasta e Ceci alla Romana with the addition of anchovies just like they do in Rome.
Traditionally, dried chickpeas are used, soaked in water the night before, but canned chickpeas are no less noteworthy.

And don’t get us started on the various pasta shapes recommended for this preparation. Short pasta, very short indeed, possibly ditalini or mini rigatoni or a short mixed pasta like the one we used.


Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 1 hour

  • 250 g short pasta
  • 350 g dried chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Hot water, approx. 250 ml
  • Optional, 1 teaspoon of tomato purée
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 fillets of salted anchovies or anchovies in oil
  • EVOO – Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • salt and black pepper, a pinch

Method

Let chickpeas soak overnight: put them in a bowl and cover them completely with cold water.

If you have decided to use canned chickpeas, skip this procedure, simply rinse them under running water.

Boil dried chickpeas that you have soaked overnight in a pot of unsalted water together with a sprig of rosemary.
Cook for about 1 hour, then drain chickpeas saving the hot cooking water which you will need again.

Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a large saucepan with the garlic clove and 1 sprig of rosemary for a few minutes. Add the washed and chopped anchovies and stir well until the anchovies are dissolved.

Tip: You can add 1 teaspoon of tomato purée.

Now add the previously boiled chickpeas and stir to season. Add the hot water you have kept aside and cover the chickpeas completely.

Allow the chickpeas to take on flavour for about 10 minutes. Taste them and decide whether or not to add salt. Discard garlic and rosemary sprig.

Tip: If you wish, use a skimmer to scoop out a quantity of chickpeas and blend them. Once you have blended the chickpeas, return the chickpea cream to the pot along with the broth and whole chickpeas.

Add the pasta to the chickpea soup and stir with a wooden spoon while cooking.

Once both are cooked, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of black pepper and serve.

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