Pasta e Ceci
Fall has finally arrived in Charleston, we had our air conditioning on last week, and I’ve pulled out heavy blankets and slippers this week, typical of the changing season in the South. I won’t be putting any of my lighter clothing away for a while, because you never know, when we moved here in January there were still people walking around in flip flops.
When the weather gets like this all I want to eat are heavy stews and soups that warm you up from the inside. Pasta e ceci isn’t quit a stew nor is it really a soup, but it fits right into the comfort level that I am looking for, warm and cozy.
Pasta e Ceci from Naples at Table, Cooking in Campania by Arthur Schwartz
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or 2 cans of chickpeas
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 quarts cold water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, cut into 1/8-inch mince
- 1/8 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 ounces macaroni (ditali, small penne, fusilli…) I used pasta mista
In a medium pot, combine the (unsoaked) chickpes, the 1½ tsp salt, and the cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, until the chickpeas are very tender and beginning to burst out of their skins, 2½ to 3 hours. Make sure the chickpeas are always covered with water, which may mean adding a little more as they cook. (You can skip this step with canned chickpeas.)
In a 4- to 6-quart pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, the garlic, and the hot pepper flakes. Cook, stirring the garlic frequently, until it is golden. Remove from the heat.
Drain the chickpeas and measure the chickpea cooking liquid. Add enough water to make 4 cups. Add the chickpeas and this liquid to the sautéed garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the additional tsp of salt and the macaroni. Stir well, then partially cover and reduce the heat to medium high. Stir occasionally at first, then more frequently as the pasta cooks and the liquid reduces. Just before the pasta is done, you will need to stir the pot almost constantly to prevent sticking. (Don’t overcook the pasta like you would for pasta e fagioli or pasta e lenticchie, the chickpeas will remain firm, so you want the pasta to maintain a firmer consistency).
Serve immediately, very hot, and while there is still a bit of liquid that has not been absorbed by the pasta. Pass extra-virgin olive oil or hot pepper oil to drizzle on top.
One Year Ago: Pasta e Fagioli