Pasta e Ceci is a cross between a saucy tomato pasta, soup, and stew. It’s hearty, flavorful, and all cooked in one pot with pantry ingredients, making it an easy weeknight dinner option in only 30 minutes. Plus, it’s vegetarian, so it can accommodate different diets. It’s so good!
Hearty chickpeas and tender small pasta cook in a tomato rich broth, delivering a fantastic meal in under 30 minutes. Bonus, it’s all done in one pot.
What is Pasta e Ceci?
Pasta e Ceci simply means “pasta and chickpeas” in English. Tender pasta, protein-rich chickpeas, and vegetables are cooked in a super flavorful tomato broth, then sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan. What you get is somewhere between a saucy tomato pasta dish, soup, and stew.
The origin is that of a Roman peasant dish, with a ton of variations available today. Some versions have a thinner broth, so it’s more like a soup, some include meat, while others incorporate some type of green, like spinach or kale. One thing is constant, though – they all have pasta and chickpeas.
If you love pasta e fagioli, you will love this, too. Instead of beans (“fagioli), this recipe uses chickpeas (“ceci”). I often say they’re cousins. They’re both ultra satisfying comfort food.
Pasta e Ceci Recipe Ingredients
You only need a handful of ingredients for this recipe and chances are you already have them stocked in your kitchen.
- Vegetables – onion, carrots, and garlic. The trio of perfection to start things off.
- Seasonings – salt, pepper, dried oregano and thyme.
- Broth – low sodium vegetable broth and tomato paste.
- Ditalini pasta – dried pasta is used and cooks in the soup. Macaroni also works fine, if you prefer.
- Chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans, they are loaded with protein!
- Olive oil and Butter – used to sauté the vegetables.
- Parmesan Cheese – for finishing. Grated Romano can also be used.
How to Make Pasta e Ceci
This dish is so easy and comes together quickly with just a few simple steps! Here’s a brief summary (scroll below for the detailed printable.)
- Warm olive oil and butter in a large pot; stir in the vegetables and sauté until softened. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stir in the tomato paste to combine and season with the oregano and thyme.
- Add in the chickpeas, pasta, and veggie broth.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente.
- Mix in the Parmesan.
- Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
Pasta e Ceci Recipe Variatons
- For the meat lovers at home, you could sauté a little Italian sausage or pancetta along with the veggies.
- Toss in some fresh baby spinach at the end and cook until wilted.
- Mix in a can of petite diced tomatoes.
How to Store this Soup
To store pasta e ceci soup in the refrigerator: Cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. NOTE: soup will thicken as it stands and noodles will absorb a lot of the broth. When reheating, thin the soup a bit with some broth. (If you don’t plan on eating all of the soup right away, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding it to individual servings.)
Can you freeze pasta e ceci soup? This soup freezes very well without the noodles, which continue to absorb the broth. Once defrosted, the pasta tends to get mushy. I recommend omitting the noodles and cooking up a fresh batch after the soup has thawed. Transfer cooled soup to an airtight container, removing as mush air as possible, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or stovetop and adding in a fresh batch of cooked noodles.
Other Hearty Soups
Watch it Being Made
Pasta e Ceci
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion , finely diced
- 1 large carrot , peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 15 ounce can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups dried ditalini pasta
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, over medium heat, warm the butter and olive oil. Stir in the onion and carrot; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the tomato paste and mix to combine.
- Add in the oregano, thyme, chickpeas, pasta, and veggie broth; stir to combine.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Mix in the Parmesan cheese.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle a little more Parmesan on top.