24 October 2007
what's cooking wednesday:
pasta e ceci

What's Cooking WednesdayToday's What's Cooking Wednesday recipe is a new one around this house (but already a favorite!); it's based on a variety of recipes around the Internet, and it's another easy, delicious soup that will impress--just like we 'em!

And even better,
pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas)--"ceci" is pronounced CHEH-chee by the way--is a great cold weather dish and completely adjustable according to your tastes--you can make it as thick or thin as you like and add whatever spices strike your fancy, from basil to rosemary to thyme.

Below is my basic recipe, but feel free to experiment!

Pasta e Ceci
(Pasta and Chickpeas)

(makes 2 big bowls of soup)

Pasta e ceci
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped or shredded
1 peperoncino (or hot pepper flakes)
1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 cups weakly flavored chicken stock or water

1 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup dried soup pasta (something small)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional)

Heat olive oil in pot large enough to hold soup and add onion, garlic, carrot, peperoncino, and rosemary. Cook on low heat until translucent, between 10 and 15 minutes (don't let this burn). Take out rosemary, which I do because we like a subtle rosemary flavor in this. You're welcome to keep it in.

Add chicken stock and chickpeas and simmer for a half hour.

Take out about half the chickpeas and crush into a paste (to thicken the soup). You can do this with a blender/food processor, but I just use the back of a big spoon--fewer dishes (which means less water used to wash them!) and less electricity too. Plus, I'm lazy and this saves me from getting out my handheld mixer, which is annoying to clean. Add this mixture to the soup.

At this point, test for salt--this will also let you know how much salt you should put in the water with the pasta.

About the pasta, I prepare it separately and then combine the two in serving dishes, but most recipes prepare the pasta right inside the soup. I prefer my way so that if there are leftovers, the pasta doesn't soak up all the broth (I've mentioned this before).

After combining pasta and soup, stir in parsley.

Serve hot with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Buon appetito!

*I'm editing to add a link to a great charity website introduced to me by Jen of A2eatwrite:

For the nerds among us (and I know there are quite a few of you like me!), this is a vocabulary test with a twist--for each word you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to end World Hunger. Plus you'll learn new words and/or feel like a smartypants. Everyone wins!

I should warn you that it's addictive.

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Blogger Robyn said...

Thanks for the recipe, Songnatrice. Now I'm about to tag you. You may not want to play but I think people I know would love to find your blog.du

Blogger sognatrice said...

Robyn, ooh! Looking forward to the tag!

Anonymous Judith in Umbria said...

Yum! I've never used broth, but it would make it quicker, I think. I start with a sofritto and then water, which becomes a veg broth. I also use up the scraps from making pasta usually, unless I haven't made any since the last time. But this is a really favorite dish and there's a cafe in town that does it fabulously -- better than mone!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Judith, lucky you! I've never seen this on a menu around here, but I wish I did...would be interesting to try different versions without having to make them all myself. The next time I make it, I'm going to add celery and just use water. Looking forward to it!

all I have to say is...I'm hungry!

Blogger Lisa Milton said...

Mmm, looks great. I think this needs to come stateside. (You always have the best recipes.)

Blogger Joe said...

How funny ... that's what I made for dinner last night. Mine still doesn't taste like my Dad's yet so I think I'll try your recipe ... Thanks.

Blogger sognatrice said...

NYC, buon appetito!

Lisa, thanks so much! I hope you give this one a go :)

Joe, well I can't promise that it's "Dad good," but it's always interesting to try other versions, right?

Blogger Eryn said...

i like this one.......usually i have to go out for a few of the unique incredients, but not this one.

maybe i'll make it tonight, i may try substituting canneloni beans for chickpeas!


Blogger A Novelist said...

What fun! And thanks for the yummy recipe. I can't wait to try it! ;)

Blogger Figs Olives Wine said...

Wonderful soup! I love pasta e ceci, and you're so right about the thickness! It's good to mix it up depending on the temperature/ time of day. I can't wait to try your recipe!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I swear I was meant to be Italian!

Anonymous My Melange said...

Soup, soup and more soup!!!! Keep 'em coming! Now that the fall is here I get soup obsessed! Though, I always prefer my soups thick, more like stew.... Hey, there are worse things to be obsessed about!

Blogger Karina said...

You were right about that vocab. game, it was totally addictive. And all for a good cause! Sweet!

Oh, and the soup looks good too. I love soup! I'm also still planning on making your carrot cake this weekend. I'll let you know if I do.

About the pumpkins, I'd send you one if I could. I went to a festival this past weekend where there were 100's of thousands of carved pumpkins...it was crazy. I'll have more pictures tomorrow. But go back and take a look at my WW picture again...there's a hidden message in it.

Blogger amanda said...

Delicious! This is one of my fav soups, there is a great restaurant in Chuisi that makes it, listed on one of my earliest posts. I've never made it myself but you have inspired me. Off to kitchen right now.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Eryn, that's how I first made this soup--finding everything in the cupboards/fridge already. Hope it goes well :)

Novelist, be sure to let me know how it turns out!

Amanda, don't you just love versatility?

Beth, Italians love honorary citizens ;)

Robin, yes, there are absolutely worse things to be obsessed about...I'll see what I can do to get more soups up on here.

Karina, I've gone back and looked at that photo--so cute :)

Amanda, this is so easy, it's definitely worth a try!

Anonymous Kaffeebohne said...

I love pasta e ceci. We had it last sunday and even my two kids enjoyed eating it.

This is one of my favorite soups and one of our favorite go-to comfort foods. I never added carrots before, but now I will.

Blogger mental mosaic said...

Hoooboy! That freerice *is* addictive! I had to tear myself away... Thanks for the link. :)

Blogger Jeni said...

I'm not normally really big on soups but I gotta say, this one sounds good to me. But then, I do LOVE pasta flavored with a broth of some type so that maybe makes it what appeals to me there.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Kaffeebohne, kid friendly! Yeah!

Jeni, to be honest, carrots weren't my first thought either, but when I started looking around the Internet, I saw that many recipes added them. So I went with it. Mmm....

MM, I knew someone else would find it addictive!

Jeni, and the chickpeas give it an extra special kick; I hope you'll try it :)

Blogger chris & erin said...

yay! This was a GREAT recipe. we made it tonight and really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing :)

Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Thanks for spreading the word about rice, and the pasta dish looks lovely!

Blogger Shan said...

This looks great! I'll have to give it a try.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Erin, so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know :)

Jen, oh I had no choice but to spread the rice word...to fun!

Shan, I hope you give it a go :)

Blogger Miss Eliza said...

This soup is fabulous... and I didn't even think I liked garbanzos! Thanks for the marvelous addition to our house repertoire!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Miss Eliza, I hear you! I never thought I really liked those little ones until I had hummus, and then I went from there...now I'm falling in love ;)

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