High Fiber Pasta e Ceci, Soup-Style

Back in December we made Frank’s recipe for Pasta e Ceci from his wonderful blog inspired by the home cooking of his Italian grandmother called Memorie Di Angelina. I had all the ingredients on hand; canned chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, pasta, vegetable broth, canned diced tomato, fresh rosemary, red chile flakes. Then in February we were equally impressed with Linda’s recipe for Zuppa di Ceci from her absolutely delightful blog about food and travel, Ciao Chow Linda.

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with the recipe for Italian chickpea soups. It’s high fiber and heart healthy, made with ingredients from the pantry plus fresh rosemary and garlic. The combination of these simple flavors produces an amazingly complex-tasting result. In about 15 minutes!

High Fiber Pasta e Ceci, Soup-Style

In a soup pot, sauté chopped shallot and garlic with red chile flakes in a good amount of olive oil (don’t be shy) for a minute or two.

Add some chopped fresh rosemary. It must be fresh. On one occasion I tried this soup with dried rosemary and was disappointed with the result.

When the garlic is barely light brown, add some chopped tomatoes and their juice. The tomatoes are an accent, as this is not a tomato soup, so do not add too much. Simmer.

Then add vegetable (or chicken) stock. I continue to be a fan of Wolfgang Puck’s stocks. Bring to a boil.

Add drained, rinsed chickpeas and slightly undercooked whole wheat pasta. Lower the heat and cook through. Taste the soup, add salt if necessary.

Serve with a sprig of fresh rosemary and toasted ciabatta bread, rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil.

Other Incarnations

For a thicker soup, briefly use an immersion blender after adding chickpeas, then add pasta. Or for an elegant version, use the immersion blender to purée the entire soup, omit the pasta. Garnish with drizzled olive oil and rosemary.

One time I added browned Italian Sausage, that was a hit too!

This thicker version used whole wheat shells, and garnished with some pretty chervil.

Do you have an Italian chickpea soup recipe to share? Being obsessed, I would love to try your version too. Please feel free to include a link to your blog post!

15 thoughts on “High Fiber Pasta e Ceci, Soup-Style”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. Your version of the soup looks delicious and healthy. It’s made in so many different ways in Italy, depending on where you’re from. My friends from Padova make it a very pureed way; my Southern Italian friends leave everything chunky. I love it either way and if I don’t have chick peas, I used canned beans, which I did just a couple of days ago. You’re right – has to be fresh rosemary.

  2. I wished I could have a bowl of this soup right now!

    Two recipes I love come immediately to mind, but they are in Italian. I could translate it for you, if you are interested in the ingredients. Here they are:
    Zuppa di ceci alla contadina – made with scarola (endive), diced proscitto, parsley and fresh marjoram for flavoring
    Zuppa di ceci alla Lombarda, flavored with a bit of diced pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, and fresh sage
    Both soups are served over toasted slices of bread.
    Very tasty.

    A wonderful Sunday to you!

  3. Oh my, I have to watch myself coming over here, between this and the post below I am hungry, and I just ate! Your photos are so good I feel as though it is sitting in front of me…

  4. I am afraid I don’t have a recipe to share. All the variations I see on your photos look delicious. A bush of rosemary is a precious thing to have access to, and easy to care for.

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