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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

How to Make “Pasta con Ceci” | Italian Chickpea Pasta Recipe

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

This is Eva's favorite pasta dish of all time! Try it and you'll see why. It’s a very simple dish: chickpeas cooked in tomato sauce and mixed with a sturdy pasta. If you like your pasta spicy, this is the perfect dish to add a kick of peperoncino to.

How to Make “Pasta con Ceci” | Italian Chickpea Pasta Recipe

Which Type of Pasta to Use with Chickpea Sauce

This dish requires a very sturdy pasta that can stand its ground with the thick, chickpea sauce. Spaghetti will definitely not work well. Our personal favorites are Calabrian fileja pasta or long zitoni. If you want to learn how to make your own fileja, check out our video on the topic here. Regarding the zitoni, you’ll want to snap the long tubes into smaller pieces, about a palm’s width in length.

How to Use Leftover Chickpea Pasta

This is one of those rare pasta dishes that is arguably better the next day. Don’t bring it anywhere near the microwave, though! Reheat it in a hot pan with plenty of olive oil until the pasta becomes slightly crispy and fried around the edges. You can thank us later.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make Pasta con Ceci here:


Makes: 4 servings

Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus time to soak the chickpeas

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 12 oz. (350g) dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)

  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

  • 14 oz. (400g) can of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with a fork

  • Salt

  • 8.5 oz. (240g) fileja pasta (we’ve intentionally kept the pasta portions smaller as the sauce is quite filling, but feel free to cook up to ~12 oz. or 340g)

  • Peperoncino or chili powder for topping (optional)

  • 3 pots

  • Ladle

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 the chickpeas cook, just enough to keep them barely submerged. Never stir them 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.

Buon appetito!

Want to try a similar Calabrian classic? Give Pasta e Fagioli a try!

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Kimberly Cooke
Kimberly Cooke
4 days ago

I've made this a few times now and it's so simple and tasty. I can't find fileja pasta or calabrian chili powder where i live in Canada so I've been making due with whatever pasta I have and allepo peppers. Thanks for the wonderful recipes! We watch your channel every weekend :)


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Dimitri Pollich
Dimitri Pollich
Mar 28

I'd want to attempt this recipe with a poblano pepper. It looks delicious. basketball stars


May 16, 2023

is there a brand of pepperoncino powder you guys recommend?


Jason Hrydziuszko
Jason Hrydziuszko
Jul 15, 2022

Amazing as usual- wife and kids loved it! This was the leftovers heated in a saute pan. Buon apetito!

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