Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Pasta e ceci alla Romana

Yesterday The Great Roman™ sent me a photo of a fine bowl of pasta e ceci in the Roman style.

This is a good lesson about custody of the eyes.   We tend to want what we see.   I immediately wanted some of that pasta e ceci.     Since I can’t go to Rome, I brought, as I often do, Rome to me.

At the store I could not find any dry chick peas, but I did find a couple of remaining cans.

Here’s my set up.

The soffritto is simple.  Olive oil, anchovies, garlic.

Let it dissolve together, slowly.  Don’t use high heat.

Add some tomatoes.

In go the ceci.  Did you know that the Latin word for chickpea is cicer?  As in Cicero?  The famous ancient Roman orator, was Mr. Chickpea.  Plutarch, who wrote biographies, said that one of his ancestor’s had a nose with a cleft tip that looked like cicer.  It is more probable that his family, based around Arpinum, made their living in the chickpea business.  Other famous Romans had family names from legumes, such as Piso (peas), Lentulus (lentils) and Fabius (beans).

Note the chopped rosemary leaves and sage.

In goes the broth.

Simmer for 15.

In goes the pasta.   You can use just about any kind of short, small pasta.  You can break up (or use up saved up short pieces of) long pasta.  I used bucatini.

After another 10 or so.

A grind of parmigiano and pepper and some dabs of really good olive oil


Later in the day we will give singing Vespers a shot, live-streamed at church.  This is a good Roman day.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. acardnal says:

    Looks good! What was your wine choice?

    [No wine, as it turned out!]

  2. mabvet says:

    ? Next do Trippa Romano….my fave is Trippa Florentina, low fat, high protein deliciousness

    [I have done trippa alla Romana. HERE]

  3. Elizium23 says:

    This looks delicious, and I’m sure it is, with your flair for cooking, but: bless me, Father for I have sinned.

    I currently loathe chickpeas. I normally love them, especially in hummus and the like. But since I began cooking at home and relying on charity food boxes for my supplies, I have a steady stream of canned chickpeas I don’t know what to do with them. I tried roasting them dry with olive oil and salt, and they were mediocre. I put them in an omelette and they kind of break through and roll around. Then I stored half a can in my fridge, they spoiled and made a stench I couldn’t locate for over a week.

    So perhaps I should educate myself with some delicious savory recipes for chickpeas, or purchase a blender and start doing my own hummus? It is a noble legume and I should not hate it so much. You know what Yoda said about hate.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Elizium, try Allrecipes, there’s sure to be a chickpea recipe you like. They have redeeming qualities in that they’re healthy, I think.
    Fr. Z., that looks yummy!

  5. Elizium23 says: I currently loathe chickpeas.

    This can pass. There’s a lot you can do with them But roasting dry with salt…. I don’t think so.

    I used to make my own hummus and I was reacquainted with how good it can be when I was in the Holy Land recently.

    They are good in soups.

    You can make a sort of “meatball”… but not.

    You can mix flour with them and make a kind of pasta.

    Chickpeas are the sort of thing you build on and with.

  6. Chrysologos says:

    Thank you, Father, for the serenity and beauty of the sung Vespers today.

    And thank you for the recipe which I shall endeavour to try. The photos reminded me of the wholesome, warming, pasta con ceci my Sicilian mother used to cook long ago.

  7. JustaSinner says:

    FALAFALS and humus. The only really good things to come of chickpeas. Smoke an eggplant and make some babaganush…goes great with a falafel pita.

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    An introduction to bucatini:

    Bucatini Is the Best Long Pasta There Ever Was or Will Be, by Alex Delany.

  9. excalibur says:


    I smoked an eggplant once, it was hard to keep it lit though. I’ll stick to a good cigar or a pipe.

  10. excalibur says:

    Father Z, how much broth did you use?

  11. ocleirbj says:

    Elizium23: We tried this the other day, and it was pretty good, even without the chives that I didn’t have. Don’t leave out the vinegar.

  12. I don’t suppose this is related to the pasta fazool of which Dean Martin sang?

  13. Anita: pasta fazool of which Dean Martin sang

    Yes and no. It is also a thickish soup or stew with pasta and with legumes. However, this is a dialectical variation filtered through immigrants to these USA of another legume, “fagioli” or “beans”. And I don’t mean the pernicious immigrated beans, but rather the little guys that grow in pods. Well… perhaps the same thing. Pasta and beans, pasta e fagioli. Each region has its zillion variants.

  14. Gregg the Obscure says:

    looks great.

    it’s mind-boggling that the paragon of eloquence has a name etymologically similar to a current caterwauler

  15. OssaSola says:

    “dabs of really good olive oil” Wait. WHAT brand and kind? It’s a need-to-know! Please tell?

  16. Mariana2 says:

    Custody of the eyes: walking past chocolate with lowered eyes for me. Ceci, and specially anchovies, I can walk right past.

  17. excalibur says:

    Just made this and it is very good, comforting too.

  18. excalibur says: comforting too

    Ain’t it, just?

  19. Pingback: Good Friday – FASTING and ABSTINENCE explained, with links to recipes and notes about what breaks the fast and what doesn’t | Fr. Z's Blog

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