Pasta e ceci is typical Italian comfort food. Ceci are chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. As with all Italian home cooking, many variations exist. Some are with tomatoes, some without (in bianco). Some are more like a soup, with the addition of chicken or vegetable broth and perhaps part of the chickpeas pureed for thickness. Some are vegetarian, some add pancetta. As I had just finished curing a fresh slab of homemade pancetta in my garage (click here for the recipe), I decided to add it. Here is my version.
For 2 servings
200 grams (7 oz, 1 1/4 cup) drained cooked chickpeas (from a jar or can is fine)
150 grams (1/3 lb) short pasta
80 grams (3 oz) pancetta, diced
40 grams (1/4 cup) each of minced onion, carrot, and celery
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic
250 ml (1 cup) peeled tomatoes pureed in the food processor
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, optional
Prepare the onion, carrot, celery, pancetta, and rosemary.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and season with a bit of salt.
Stir over medium heat until the vegetables start to color.
Add the garlic clove (peeled and left whole), pancetta, and rosemary.
Stir over medium heat until the pancetta just starts to crisp up. Deglaze with 60 ml of white wine.
Allow most of the wine to evaporate over medium heat.
Now add the tomatoes…
…and the chickpeas.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
When the water boils, add salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta for the time indicated on the package.
When the pasta is almost ready, remove the garlic clove and discard. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add a bit of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is a bit dry.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.
Toss to mix.
Serve at once on preheated plates. Freshly grated parmigiano is optional.
This French-style apple and almond paste tart is special because of the almond paste filling. The tart apples provide a nice contrast with the sweet almond paste.