Chickpea Spaghetti (Spaghetti con Ceci)

2.8.11 § 18 Comments

Living alone can be tough for someone who loves to cook. I get annoyed by halving recipes and I can’t always muster the willpower to eat the same thing every day for a week. However, all of this has an upside too: my freezer is full of frozen food. That’s been especially important this last week, as I’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to breathe, let alone cook. It’s also been good because I’m getting to put some of that tupperware back into rotation *fist pump*.

This week’s star was the sauce for chickpea spaghetti, which I made a few weeks back. It was really simple to make and the deliciousness level totally blew me away. It didn’t disappoint on its second run either, although it was decidedly less pretty the second time around (which is when the picture is from).

This recipe, adapted by Deb at Smitten Kitchen from a Michael White gem, is definitely making its way into my favorites file. As Deb suggested, I doubled the sauce, and man, am I glad I did. I couldn’t get enough. She also says that this dish is great for carb-loading (it was originally run in NYMag right before the NYC marathon), but seriously, since when do I need an excuse to load up on carbs? Since never, that’s when.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe. Make it in big batches. Trust me, it’s an amazing thing to discover in your freezer.

Chickpea Spaghetti (Spaghetti con Ceci)
adapted from Smitten Kitchen where it was adapted from NYMag/Michael White

2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 4 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas
1 cup chicken stock
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pancetta, diced (about 4 ounces)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, minced
Generous pinch chile flakes
2 14-ounce cans of tomatoes, chopped
20 to 25 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Set 1/2 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor (or using an immersion blender, which is what I did), combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped but not smooth.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. You’ll probably want to use a splatter screen if you have one. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let it all simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until nearly al dente (about one minute less than you normally would). Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss the pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. (I didn’t need to do this.) Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan to pass.


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§ 18 Responses to Chickpea Spaghetti (Spaghetti con Ceci)

  • Matt says:

    I’m glad the fame of being an all star blogger hasn’t gone to your head and made you above the occasional fist pump. Also this recipe looks bomb. Well done.

  • Shady says:

    Being a fellow Deb lover, I of course recognized the recipe you were going to write about from the title and remembered bookmarking it in longing yet knowing I had negative need for any carb boost, but this has inspired me to say ‘screw it’ and go ahead w/ it sometime this week. Long distance relationship with my vegetarian bf means I def feel the pain of cooking for one, but I will follow your lead and learn to love a freezer stocked w/ delicious leftovers!

    • Tyla says:

      Woohoo! Bring on those carbs! Also, just a note, if you leave out the pancetta you can make this for the bf next time you guys are together…it’ll still be great!

  • jdpence says:

    Thanks Tyla… was hoping you would post again soon:) Really enjoy your writing style!

  • Nette says:

    Believe it or not, someday you might miss the days of cooking just for yourself. I love my husband dearly, but he’s not so adventurous with his food. There’s a lot of things I don’t even consider cooking anymore because I know exactly what his reaction would be. For example, he’s not a huge fan of me tampering with his spaghetti sauce: he likes his Primo out of a can.

    • Tyla says:

      You know, that is so true. I never thought of that! I will have to remember that when I’m cooking from now on. Thanks for giving me some perspective 🙂

  • I am really impressed about this recipe, I am always looking to find different kinds of pastas to make and I think I might just have to try this out. Thanks for the good information, Ill bring it to good use!!

  • Brianne says:

    When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen (a site that I found out about after reading your site way back in August!), I literally made it that night. I am not one to tamper with spaghetti sauce, but I love me some carbs, so I had to make it. It’s SO good! I am forever indebted to you for discovering Smitten Kitchen 🙂

  • […] Chickpea Spaghetti (Spaghetti criminal Ceci) « Learning to Live Without … […]

  • farmerka2 says:

    I love your blog! I have become really inspired to walk in your footsteps and live a mirowave-less life. I wrote a little splurge about you on my blog and I thought you may want to see what I wrote:

    Keep up the great work and I’ll continue reading!:)

  • sofia says:

    can we cook something this simple, delicious and CHEAP?! paired with a bottle of red and we’d be good to go. and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with carbo loading for …not running. rock on.

  • jdlis says:

    I really love your blog! You’re goal is similar to mine, trying to live microwave free. I am trying stay away from all the frozen foods and things that come in a box and get cooking. Your recipes are simple and look delicious, I definitely will be trying these soon. Keep posting!!

  • gmomj says:

    Great recipe I’ll be trying it out this weekend. Thanks!

  • Tori Nelson says:

    You had me at carb-loading! Haha! This looks awesome (even after being frozen). I will definitely try it out 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Chickpeas are the new cashews, in my opinion. When I’m looking for something to throw in a stir fry or curry, I go to chickpeas now instead of nuts. When I want to put out a treat for a cocktail party–roasted chickpeas are the way to go. I put them in chili so why not in pasta? I’m always looking for a way to put some protein into meals I serve to my recently vegetarian teenage stepdaughter!

  • jen says:

    hey tyla, it’s jen from saveur! just found your blog, it’s beautiful…hope you don’t mind my devouring your archives, and that post-internship life is treating you like a lady.

    • Tyla says:

      So glad you’re reading, Jen! Obviously I don’t mind you devouring the archives! Hope all is well at SAVEUR!

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