EASY PEASY ITALIAN PASTA | Hearty Pasta and Chickpeas (Pasta e Ceci)

Updated: May 9, 2020

I was having one of the most DELICIOUS tomato pastas once. When I asked my Italian coworker at the time what was in it, he replied "tomato, garlic, olive oil and basil." That's all???? If there's one thing Italian food has taught me, it's simplicity. They use very few quality ingredients to make dishes that taste so much more complex than they actually are.

I notice in Jamaica when people think Italian food, they immediately think chicken/shrimp alfredo, spaghetti with meatballs and pizza, when in reality, so many of their traditional recipes come from "la cucina povera," "the kitchen of the poor" in English. It's basically a 'no-waste, take what you have a turn it into something delicious' traditional from rural regions (I think every society has this). I don't know about you, but I think that's exactly the type of recipes we could use right now :)

It's a very basic recipe so feel free to add your own twist to it by swapping out the rosemary for another herb or adding your favourite spice. The whole point of this recipe is to inspire you to make do with what you have right now :)


1 small sprig rosemary

3 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

1 medium carrot

115 g (1/2 cup) tomato sauce (you could replace this with approx 4 Tbs tomato paste)

800 g of cooked chickpeas (approx 400 g dry chickpeas OR 3 cans)

200 g pasta (a short cut pasta is best, but I used fusilli - approx 2 1/2 cups)

olive oil for sautéing

vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the vegetable broth in a large pot. (*see below)

  2. Add the oil to a separate pot, followed by the rosemary. Allow the rosemary to flavour the oil.

  3. Sauté the onion, garlic and carrot (if you have celery, add a stalk to this!) When the onion is translucent, add the tomato sauce, chickpeas and enough broth to almost cover them. Let it simmer for 15 mins.

  4. Remove about three ladles of the chickpeas plus some cooking liquid and blend until smooth. Add it back to the pot and stir to combine. Cover and let everything continue to simmer for about 30 mins (add more broth if necessary).

  5. Bring to a boil before adding the pasta and allow it to cook uncovered. Follow time on the package. (**see below)

  6. Season to taste and serve yourself up a bowl :)


*To make your own, simply sauté garlic, onion, carrot, celery- whatever veggies you have on hand really- then add water and herbs of your choice- e.g. thyme, bay leaf, rosemary. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer.

**Ensure there is enough liquid to cook the pasta. Otherwise, it will stick to the bottom of the pot. Trust me, I've learnt my lesson!