Fileja con Ceci | Italian Chickpea Pasta Recipe
This is Eva's favorite pasta dish of all time! Try it and you'll see why. While you can make this with several different pasta shapes, such as ziti and large shells, one of our favorites is Calabrian fileja pasta. This shape is uniquely suited to the thick sauce, and allows one to make a reheated leftover dish that is actually better than the fresh!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Makes about 4-5 servings of pasta. The sauce is difficult to make in smaller amounts, but remember that this dish makes incredible leftovers!
For this recipe, you will need:
12 oz. (350g) dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
14 oz. (400g) can of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with a fork
4 servings (about 8.5 oz. or 240g) fileja pasta (watch the video above to see how to make your own!)
Peperoncino or chili powder for topping (optional)
Before cooking the chickpeas, you'll need to soak them in cold water for 12 hours. Then rinse them, cover them with water in a pot and boil them for 45-60 minutes, or until they are soft but not dissolved.
Add more water as necessary while they cook, just enough to keep them barely submerged. Never stir the chickpeas with a utensil as you risk breaking them apart! Instead, swirl the pot around occasionally to mix them. When the chickpeas are done, don't drain them—you want some liquid in there!
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
To make the sauce, bring the olive oil and whole garlic clove up to medium heat in a medium pot. Add the cooked chickpeas plus most of the cooking liquid. You can adjust the desired thickness of your sauce by adding more or less of the water. Save any leftover liquid in case you want to thin the sauce later. Also add the crushed tomatoes.
The same rule applies here: never stir! Simply shake and swirl to mix the ingredients occasionally. Bring the sauce to a simmer and allow it to cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes. Salt it to taste. If the sauce is ready before the pasta, you can turn off the heat and let it rest.
When the pasta water comes to a rolling boil, salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook as directed, or until "al dente" to your taste. Drain it and return it to the pot.
Ladle as much of the chickpea sauce as you like over the pasta. Stir all together over medium/high heat for about 1 minute before serving. Top with some extra sauce and a sprinkle of peperoncino powder for a Calabrian touch!
Check out the video above to see how this pasta can be reheated into a "better the next day" leftover dish! Buon appetito!