Quick Family Dinners: Pasta con Ceci


‘Tis the season for quick-cooking dinners, because even though our to-do lists are long at this time of year, most of us still have a house full of people looking to be fed three square meals a day.

It helps if the meals are somewhat healthy, to help balance out the Toblerones and seasonal cookie consumption, and it’s even better if everyone at your table literally wants to lick their bowls clean because they love this meal so much. That’s exactly what happened at my house the first time I made this pasta and chickpea concoction for dinner, and it’s been on the table four times in the past two weeks because it’s really loved that much.

I’ve been serving this humble dish with a hearty salad and fresh bread, although one time I did plop into the centre of the table with nothing but a huge platter of veggies and dip. It’s a recipe you’re really going to want in your back pocket for the coming month, and is perfect for making just before the school Christmas concert, or when you’re rushing out the door to make it to hockey practice on time.

Pasta con Ceci

Adapted from Chickpeas by Victoria Granof via Dinner a Love Story

Serves 2-3

You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup uncooked ditalini or tubetti pasta
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Prep and Cook:

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly browned and fragrant.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste and salt and fry for 30 seconds or so. Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. To serve, ladle the pasta into bowls and drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Good to Know:

  • If feeding this to babies or young children, you may want to skip the chilli flakes in the first step, and then add them to the adult’s bowls separately, after cooking.
  • The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.



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