Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pasta e Ceci

I found this marvelous soup recipe in the recent t issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine.  Pasta with beans, veggies, and some herbs and spices.  Sprinkle the soup with some grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle with some olive oil and you have one hearty and delicious meal or a nice starter for your dinner.

This soup is very easy to make and very versatile according to the recipe.  With this in mind, I used the beans I had in my pantry - one can of garbanzo and one can of red kidney beans.  I also substituted a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies for the whole tomatoes.  Everything else was kept the same.

The result was a very tasty and satisfying bowl of rich and hearty soup that tastes great with every bite.

Pasta e Ceci
From Cook's Illustrated Magazine

2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (do not drain)
2 cups water
Salt and pepper
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) ditalini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

1. Process pancetta in food processor until ground to paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Add carrot, celery, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses.  Add onion and pulse until onion is cut into 1/8 - to - 1/4-inch pieces, 8 to 10 pulses.

Pulsing pancetta and veggies

Transfer pancetta mixture to large Dutch oven.  Pulse tomatoes in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses.  Set aside.
2. Add oil to pancetta mixture in Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, about 5 minutes.  Add anchovy, pepper flakes, and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add caption

 Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve, passing Parmesan and oil separately.

Serves 4 to 6


  1. This sounds delicious, like the anchovy addition! And coming from CI, I'm sure it is delicious!

  2. Geraldine, your "Pasta e ceci" looks like a wonderful family-style dinner - with lots of vegetables and lots of taste from all those lovely ingredients! Perfect autumn fare!

  3. That looks like a good recipe to have before winter sets in!

  4. I cooked the tomatoes down with the pancetta for an additonal 10 minutes before adding thel water. Also wanted more flavor so I added 3-4 anchovies to give it more earthy flavor, plus a bit of the oil in the anchovy tin. What really finishes this dish is a good, aged hard cheese..