We offer you a great Italian first course, a pasta dish with chickpeas worthy heir of our best gastronomic traditions.
In fact, the recipe has ancient traditions, predating the spread of the tomato. That is, when pasta dishes were mostly simple, seasoned with what was at home: onion, garlic, cheese and often nothing else. Or with leftovers from the previous days: all excellent for seasoning pastas. Especially when it came to leftover vegetables or legumes. Things that can easily be transformed into sauce by grinding everything and adding water. Then, when what was left was some chickpea soup, it was game over: all that was left was to add the pasta.
That is why in many regions you can find recipes similar to our pasta with chickpeas. Especially from the south, where there are famous recipes, such as ciceri and tria from Puglia (see recipe here) and the lagane with chickpeas from Basilicata and Calabria (here you have the recipe).
But in the central regions you can also find delicious pasta dishes with chickpeas. And specifically in Tuscany, with both completely white versions, with tomato, and intermediate ones. As is precisely the case with today’s proposal, which is practically blank, except for one scant tablespoon of concentrate (a teaspoon, according to some recipe books). Which dates the recipe to the second half of the 19th century, before canned tomatoes really began to spread (early 20th century).
Cooking this pasta with chickpeas is very simple, apart from the laborious soaking and cooking of the chickpeas dry. But of course, if you have time problems Don’t hesitate to use canned chickpeas. The flavor will undoubtedly be less rich and full than pasta made with dried chickpeas. But, if the alternative is giving up… canned chickpeas are fine!
The point to which you have to pay close attention to better appreciate pasta with chickpeas is correct fluidity of the chickpea cream. It seems trivial, but this is the point where many people get it wrong.
Be and stay fluid, a chickpea cream must be made with chickpeas cooked to perfection. That is, completely rehydrated, with no part still al dente, not even slightly.
This is because both the pasta and the chickpeas themselves continue to absorb water: a little, but they do. And therefore, if they are not completely rehydrated, while you mix the pasta with the sauce you will notice that the latter tends to thicken and dry out.
So remember: prepare the chickpea cream a little thinner than you think then, by eye. And above all, reserve a little of the pasta cooking water to be able to dilute it further, if necessary. Enjoy your meal
- 360 g long durum wheat pasta (fettuccelle, fettuccine, linguine, spaghettoni and similar)
- 200 g dried chickpeas
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ onion
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 5 tablespoons grated parmesan
- A sprig of parsley
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Let the chickpeas soak for at least 14 hours. Take them out of the soaking and place them in a saucepan with plenty of cold unsalted water. Then bring to the boil and simmer until perfectly cooked. It will probably take more than an hour, but, if necessary, let them cook for up to two hours. Add at the end, when it seems that there are no more than 10-15 minutes left until the end of cooking. Drain them, saving the cooking water, which you will use to cook the pasta.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and fry all the chopped parsley stems together with the garlic and onion. Let it fry over low heat for 10 minutes. Then add ⅓ of the chickpeas and pour into a glass of boiling cooking water, in which you have dissolved a scant tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir, cover the saucepan and let it cook for 10 minutes over moderate heat.
- Puree all the remaining chickpeas in a blender, adding cooking water to make them fluid enough. Then add all the chickpeas, crushed and whole, to the pan. Mix and let it flavor over low heat for 10 more minutes, adding more cooking water if necessary. In the end the sauce should have the fluidity of a regular pasta sauce. One minute before turning off, taste, season with salt and season with a generous pinch of pepper. Turn off the heat and add the finely chopped parsley leaves.
- Cook the pasta in the chickpea water. Drain al dente and immediately pour into the teapot to serve. Add the chickpea seasoning and mix well, sprinkling at the same time with the grated Parmesan. This pasta with chickpeas in cream should be served immediately, very hot, completing each dish with a splash of raw oil.