05 May Pasta and Chickpea Soup (Minestra di Pasta e Cecci)


Pasta and Chickpea Soup (Minestra di Pasta e Cecci)

5 May 2020

PREP. TIME: 15 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 70 MIN   -   SERVES: 4

Despite the name of the dish the result should be a pasta with a chickpea sauce rather than a soup of chickpeas with pasta in it, as the pasta swells when cooking absorbing much of the liquid.

Recipe Template

Depending upon the origins in Italy of the recipe, different types of strong pasta are used.  Classically in southern Italy they use Lagane.  Lagane is a fresh pasta made from a mixture of an ancient durum wheat flour called Seragolla and Farina di Grana Tenero , water and salt - no eggs.  It is cut like tagliatelle but is wider and shorter in length.  Easier to find are the small short tubular pasta - I recommend the De Cecco brand of Mezzi Ditali Lisci which you will find in good Italian delicatessens and grocery stores. 

The chickpeas need to be soaked in a large bowl of water overnight. If you plan to use tinned chick peas - see the note on variations below.


225g Dried Chickpeas

6 Cups Water

1 Small handful of celery leaves

4 Bay leaves

1/2 Onion

1 Sprig of rosemary

Salt and Pepper

225g Short narrow tubular pasta 

For the Tomato Sauce

1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil

4 Cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole

1 Sprig Rosemary

170g Italian tinned tomatoes - chopped

To Serve:

Extra virgin olive oil

Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese


Large bowl or basin; Kitchen Scales; Chopping board and Kitchen knife; 2 - 3 litre soup pot; 1 Litre saucepan or pot; Fork


Step 1.

Soak the chickpeas in a large basin of cold water overnight or for 10 - 12 hours

Step 2.

The next morning - Rinse and prepare the aromatics:

Trim any dirt from the skin and root of the onion, rinse the rosemary, celery leaf and bay leaves

Step 3.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Place them in the larger pot with 6 cups water and the aromatics.

Cook over slow to moderate heat for about 1 hour depending upon how dry and old the chickpeas are.

Remove any foam from the pot as it rises to the surface.

When the chickpeas are soft and tender remove the pot from the heat.

Step 4.

While the chickpeas are cooking you can make the tomato sauce:

Place a smaller pan or pot over moderate heat

Add the olive oil, whole garlic and sprig of rosemary and cook gently to infuse the oil

Remove the garlic once it is golden

Add the tomatoes to the oil and stir to combine

Add salt and pepper to season

Cook for about 20 minutes - stirring occasionally until the oil separates from the tomatoes

Step 5.

Remove about 1/3 of the chickpeas from the pot and mash these with a fork to a puree.  Return to the pot.

Add the tomato sauce to the pot with the chickpeas and their cooking liquid

Heat gently for about 20 minutes so that the flavour of the tomatoes can permeate with the chickpeas.

Step 6.

When you are ready to eat - bring the pot to the boil and add the pasta

Stir the pasta into the liquid to combine

Cook until the pasta is tender but still firm

Check for seasoning with salt and pepper

Step 7.

Set aside to rest for a few minutes before serving with extra virgin olive oil and grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheeses; Garnish with a sprig of Rosemary.

Replace 225g dried chickpeas with 1 tin of chickpeas and start at Step 2.

In Step  3 - empty the chickpeas and their liquid into the pot with the aromatics, add 5 cups water and simmer for about 20 minutes while you make the tomato sauce.


Recipe by Elizabeth Peddey

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