Pasta e Ceci

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pasta e Ceci is hands down my favorite soup of all time.  Translated from Italian it means "pasta and chickpeas" but what it really is, is a thick, creamy, comforting soup that will make you feel warm on a cold day.  Serve this soup with some crusty bread and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese and you have the perfect meal!  Here is my version of Pasta e Ceci.

Elizabeth's Pasta e Ceci

  • 4 cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 4-6 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped (about two large carrots)
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. italian herbs
  • 1 cup uncooked small shell pasta or other small pasta such as dilatini
In a large dutch oven or soup pot, cook the pancetta over medium heat until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.  Turn heat up to medium high and add the celery, the carrots, the onions, and the garlic and saute in the pancetta grease until starting to sweat about 5 minutes.  Add the beans, herbs, stock, and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low.  Allow to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes -4 hours (the longer the soup simmers the more intense the flavor).  Briefly remove the soup from the heat.  Remove the parmesan rind and set aside.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.  If you do not have an immersion blender you can puree the soup in batches in a regular blender or a food processor.  Add the pancetta and the parmesan rind back into the soup, along with the pasta.  Cook another 5-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.  If the soup is too thick, add a little bit more stock, although this soup is meant to be thick.  Serve with a generous sprinkling of parmesan!  YUM!

Happy and HEALTHY cooking and EATING!


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