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Sunday, September 4, 2011

When in Rome...

Pasta e Ceci

Pasta e Ceci is a Roman classic, traditionally served on Fridays before the baccala (salt cod). Pasta e Ceci is a rustic soup with complex textures that combines chickpeas, tubetti from southern Italy and fried rosemary. I am actually not a huge soup fan, but this dish is more of a hearty pasta. Served with a meaty baguette and shaved parmesan, Pasta e Ceci is sure to become a lunch or dinner favorite. 

Pasta e Ceci Recipe
Inspired by Williams-Sonoma Recipe

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

3 tablespoons + 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, finely diced
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tomato, diced
1 can chickpeas
6 cups water or stock
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 pound tubetti pasta, cooked al dente and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, shaved (Garnish)
3 fresh rosemary sprigs, cut into 1" lengths (Garnish)

In dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots and onions, cook until soft. Add garlic and tomato, cook for 1 minute. Add water, red pepper flakes and thyme sprigs. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add chickpeas in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

In a small saucepan, fry rosemary in canola oil for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes until crispy. Remove to paper towel and salt.

Strain chickpea mixture from dutch oven into colander, discard thyme sprigs and reserve all cooking liquid. Place 2 cups of the mixture in a medium bowl, mash until smooth. Transfer mashed chickpea mixture back to dutch oven, add remaining chickpea mixture and 2-3 cup of cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of olive oil, stir until combined. Season well with salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt & pepper as needed.

Ladle into serving bowls and top with fried rosemary and shaved parmesan. 

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