Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

October 27, 2015 Pasta, Soup No Comments

With the cooler fall air rolling in, now is the time of year that I enjoy making soups and stews. This past weekend’s brisk weather was the perfect time for me to make a pot of Pasta e Ceci (pronounced as pasta & chichi), which is a cousin to the famous Pasta e Fagioli. Instead of using the traditional kidney or cannelloni beans, this recipe uses garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Many pasta e ceci recipes use ingredients similar to other pasta and bean dishes, such as pancetta, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a mirepoix (sautéed carrots, celery and onions). My recipe is a bit abbreviated, but I promise you it does not lack in heartiness or rich flavor! My version of this dish can be prepped and served in just under an hour, which makes it a practical and comforting dish for any chilly weekend or weekday meal.

 

 

Pasta e Ceci

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbspn olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 14oz can stewed tomatoes
1 16oz can garbanzo beans/chick peas, drained
1 32oz can/container of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 tbspn grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
1 cup short cut pasta, such as dilatini or elbow macaroni
salt and pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, stir to evenly coat. Let simmer until onions become soft and translucent. Add garlic, stir. Simmer for 30 seconds, until garlic becomes fragrant. Add stewed tomatoes and their juices, along with about 1/3 can of beans. Add bay leaves, stir together. Let simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Using a potato masher, rough-smash the tomatoes and beans, making a chunky broth. You can also use an emulsifier or remove the beans to puree them and add them back into the soup for a creamier texture, but I prefer to mash them along with the softened tomatoes. Add the remaining beans, along with 3 cups of the broth. The soup will thicken up as it cooks, so you can add the remaining broth as needed. Add 1tbspn grated parmesan, stir. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta, stir well. Again, the soup will thicken up as the beans and pasta cook and expand. You can slowly add more broth or water as needed, or to your liking. Heat another 5-10 minutes until pasta is cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve with crusty bread. Top with additional grated or shaved parmesan cheese.

The basic ingredients...plus a little wine!

The basic ingredients…plus a little wine!

Early stages of the soup.

Early stages of the soup.

Rough-smashing the beans and tomatoes.

Rough-smashing the beans and tomatoes.

Served with shaved parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Served with shaved parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

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Kale, Peppers and Eggs Sandwich

October 14, 2015 Entrees, Menu No Comments

This recipe is by far not an original. In fact, its roots go back to one of the most traditional Italian-American classics, the peppers and eggs sandwich. There are a number of variations on this sandwich – my grandfather would often add hot dogs, and I’ve added shrimp or pancetta to mine.

This version takes a bit of a healthier route, with the addition of fresh kale. In true Italian-American style cooking, some of the measurements in this recipe are eyeballed. But with a dish like peppers and eggs, a little of this and some of that is always the perfect amount.

 

 

 

Kale, Peppers and Eggs Sandwich

Makes two fully packed sandwiches

1 green bell pepper, chopped
(you can learn more about my quick pepper slicing techniques by clicking here)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 yellow onion, chopped or grated
(you can learn more about my onion grating techniques by clicking here)
Olive oil
2 handfuls of fresh kale, chopped
4 large eggs
1 heaping teaspoon grated parmesan cheese (optional, but gives the egg a nice flavor)
Salt and pepper

Lightly coat the bottom of a pan on medium heat with olive oil. Add the garlic and onions, stir. Add the peppers, stir. Once the peppers are slightly softened and tender, add the kale. Season with salt and pepper. Add about a tablespoon of water to the pan, then cover the pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, scramble the eggs, parmesan cheese and a bit of salt and pepper. Once the kale has softened, give the peppers and kale one more stir to mix it together. Add the egg mixture, tilt the pan to make sure that the egg mixture is evenly distributed.

Once the eggs start to firm up, carefully flip everything in the pan with a spatula. Continue to flip and stir until the eggs are evenly cooked.

Serve the kale, peppers and eggs in a roll. I prefer adding a slice of provolone cheese. Enjoy!

Step 1. Stir together the garlic, onion and peppers in olive oil.

Step 1. Stir together the garlic, onion and peppers in olive oil.

 

Step 2. Add the kale.

Step 2. Add the kale.

 

Step 3. Simmer until the kale wilts.

Step 3. Simmer until the kale softens.

 

Step 4. Add the egg mixture.

Step 4. Add the egg mixture.

 

Step 5. Allow the egg mixture to cook and mix in with the veggies.

Step 5. Allow the egg mixture to cook and mix in with the veggies.

 

Step 6. Serve it up in a nice roll...add provolone cheese for extra zip!

Step 6. Serve it up in a nice roll…add provolone cheese for extra zip!

 

Even my kids enjoyed it!

 

peps8

peps7

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