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Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew)

Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew)

Pasta e Ceci is classic Italian comfort food at its finest. Budget-friendly, made in one pot, and on the table in right around 30 minutes, this cozy soup is strikingly simple. Best served with crusty Italian bread and an extra drizzle of olive oil. 
Course Soup/Stew
Cuisine Italian
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 to 4 people
Calories 390kcal


  • Large Soup Pot or Dutch Oven


  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups (1 quart) vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups chopped kale leaves or escarole
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for garnish


  • Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and rosemary sprig; cook 6 to 7 minutes, until onions soften.
    Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing tomato paste to caramelize. 
  • Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Use the back of a fork (or spoon) to mash about 1/2 cup of the chickpeas while they simmer. (This helps create a creamier broth.) Sauté chickpeas for 3 minutes total. Remove rosemary sprig. 
    Add broth, and stir to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, add pasta, and season with salt and pepper. Slightly reduce heat to bring soup to a simmer.
    Simmer, uncovered, until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in kale (or escarole) and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the greens are wilted, about 2 more minutes.
    (Note: the stew will be quite thick at this point. If you prefer a brothier consistency, stir in 1 cup of water.)
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with additional grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


Note: If you’re not heart-set on keeping this stew vegetarian, it is DELICIOUS topped with crispy fried pancetta. You can also melt some anchovies into the sautéed garlic and onion mixture for an extra boost of umami. 
  • To Store: Let the soup come close to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight storage container. Refrigerate soup for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat: This soup reheats best stovetop, however you can also nook it in the microwave for convenience. For stovetop reheating, place soup in a small saucepan and add water or broth to thin out to desired consistency. Cook over medium heat until warm.
    • Alternatively, heat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until warm. 
  • To Freeze: Transfer completely cooled soup to a freezer-safe, gallon-sized ziptop bag. Lay flat in the freezer, and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 


Serving: 1.33cups | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 650mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g