Pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas)
Pasta with chickpeas is a typical Italian comfort dish that fits perfectly for a cold winter day. It's usually cooked and served either to a soup consistency or (as presented here) in a thicker version where the chickpeas are blended to form a creamy sauce.
Typically is seasoned with herbs like rosemary and spices like chili or sweet paprika.
It's also a very good example of a vegan dish where the combination of pasta and legumes (chickpeas in this case) constitute a complete protein meal.
It can be made with either fresh or dried pasta but preferably with a short shape (pasta corta). In this case, I used fresh orecchiette.
fresh orecchiette (you can use whatever short shape of fresh or dried pasta)
chickpeas (you can use fresh but also canned chickpeas)
smoked sweet paprika (you can use instead a chili one)
extra virgin olive oil
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water and then let them cook smoothly in boiling water until they become relatively soft (the time depends on the variety and freshness of chickpeas).
(Remember to scoop out with a spoon most of the white foam that is formed at the beginning of boiling).
(If you use canned chickpeas you can skip this and the next step)
- When done, keep them aside and save also some of the boiling water.
- Slice a clove of garlic (per dish portion) and some fresh rosemary and sauté them on medium heat in a pan with a good amount of olive oil until the garlic starts getting brown. Remove from fire and set aside.
- Combine the chickpeas with the garlic-rosemary-olive oil mixture and blend them with a hand blender, using enough of the chickpea water to achieve a creamy consistency. Add also some extra olive oil and season with salt.
(Try to obtain a relatively liquid mixture because it can thicken up fast).
- Add the chickpea mix in a pan and heat it up slightly, while pasta is cooking in salted water. If the mix starts to thicken, add some pasta or chickpea water to keep it creamy.
- When pasta is ready, transfer it in the pan with the chickpea sauce and mix it together for a couple of minutes to coat the pasta nicely.
- Serve, sprinkle a good amount of smoked paprika and drizzle with olive oil.