Pasta e Ceci Soup
The combination of pasta and legumes is a perennial favorite in Roman cuisine. In this rustic soup, ceci beans (also known as chickpeas or garbanzos) are paired with tender pasta and bathed in a hearty broth—delicious proof that the simple can be sublime.
- 3 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/3 cup diced tomato
- 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, drained and rinsed
- 6 cups water
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 lb. tubetti pasta, cooked until al dente and drained
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, water and thyme sprigs, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.
Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the rosemary and fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with salt.
Strain the chickpea mixture through a colander, reserving the cooking liquid. Place 2 cups of the chickpea mixture in a wide, shallow bowl and mash until almost smooth. Transfer to a large fry pan. Add the remaining chickpea mixture and 1 cup of the cooking liquid and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and the 1/2 cup olive oil and stir until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, and garnish with the fried rosemary and cheese shavings. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.