Rome at the table: Pasta and chickpeas, the recipe for this delicious traditional Roman soup

Among the pages of the vast Roman cookbook, pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas) stands out as a culinary gem, symbolizing authenticity and tradition. This modest yet extremely flavorful dish offers a taste of the true essence of Rome's home cooking, where history deliciously blends with each bite.

Origins and Tradition
Pasta e ceci, like many traditional Italian dishes, has humble origins, born from the need to use economical and readily available ingredients to create hearty and nutritious meals. This soup is a classic example of "cucina povera" (peasant cooking), a culinary philosophy that focuses on the optimal and creative use of limited ingredients to produce satisfying and delicious dishes.
In Rome, pasta e ceci is celebrated for its richness of flavors despite its simplicity. The dish stands out for its ability to be both nourishing and extremely satisfying, with chickpeas providing a rich source of protein and fiber, and the pasta supplying the necessary carbohydrates for a complete meal. The way these elements combine in an aromatic broth showcases Roman culinary skill in creating dishes that are greater than the sum of their parts.
Chickpeas have been a fundamental component of the Mediterranean diet since antiquity. Thousands of years ago, they were cultivated and consumed mainly in the Middle East and Europe, and traces of their use are also found in ancient Greek and Roman cuisine. The introduction of pasta, combined with chickpeas, is a more modern fusion but reflects the same ingenuity in combining basic ingredients to maximize both nourishment and taste.
Over time, pasta e ceci has been adapted in various ways, with the addition of extra ingredients like tomatoes in some variants, or the use of specific spices and aromatic herbs, such as rosemary or chili pepper, to cater to local tastes. This ability to evolve reflects the flexibility of Italian cuisine in responding to cultural changes and ingredient availability while always maintaining a connection to its roots.

To immerse yourself in the authenticity of Roman flavor, you will need:
Dried chickpeas, preferably soaked overnight
Short pasta, such as ditalini or tubetti
Extra virgin olive oil, for a full flavor
Garlic and rosemary for the aromatic sauté
Red chili pepper, if you desire a touch of spice
Sea salt and black pepper to enhance the flavors

After soaking, rinse the chickpeas and cook them until they reach the desired consistency.
Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the chopped garlic with rosemary until golden. At this point, if used, add the chili pepper.
Add the chickpeas to the sauté, pour in enough water, and bring to a gentle boil.
Add the pasta to the chickpeas and cook until the pasta is al dente, ensuring the mixture remains creamy and inviting.
Serve the pasta e ceci hot, drizzled with raw extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper. Rustic bread makes a perfect companion for this robust dish.

Why Love Pasta e Ceci
Beyond its flavor, this dish is an excellent source of plant-based proteins and fiber. It is suitable for all seasons, ideal for warming up cold winter days or as a one-dish meal on a summer evening.
Pasta e ceci is not just food; it is a journey into Roman tradition, a way to connect with the culture of the Eternal City through the palate. To savor this dish is to immerse oneself in a culinary heritage that continues to influence and inspire.

Do you want to stay in Rome?

For this location we recommend Hotel Oxford, the ideal starting point to discover Rome!

pasta and chickpeasroman cuisinetraditional roman cuisine