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How to Make a Good Italian Pasta Sauce Recipe with Garbanzo Beans (Ceci).
Pasta Ceci Garbanzo Beans
Authentically Good Pasta with Ceci
You Need Fresh Rosemary.
How to Make It
Real Italian cooking is simple. Varied. It is made from seasonal foods, prepared freshly every day. So the food that is prepared and served through the year changes subtly, day by day, through the seasons.
The ingredients are regionally different (there is a colder Italy as well as a hot one, there are coasts and mountains and flat lands etc) which is why Italians have so many many national dishes.
Pasta Ceci (made with ceci or Garbanzo beans) is a Roman dish, a proletariat favorite that dates back centuries. Rome is the seat of Government and of the Vatican but most of it's citizens have always found it hard to make ends meet. This pasta dish is one of the simplest (whole) meals in the world!
It is also very useful if you have to feed a family and have run out of provisions or time or money and you have to raid your supplies for that rainy day!
There are only four basic ingredients to it.
- ceci (otherwise known a chic peas or Garbanzo beans) - pronounced shea shi.
- fresh rosemary,
- dried pasta
- a sprinkling of raw olive oil.
It costs pennies to make. It is very good for you. It will warm you in the winter and be a delightful fresh dish in the summer (served cool).
A very old Roman lady, who lived in a street next to the Colosseum, taught me how to make it. Her name was Irma.
Irma was a typical ancient Roman lady from the very heart of her 'eternal' city. She was small, bent, dark, baritone, missing several teeth and extremely wry. She had mothered ten children and she was tired.
She was so tired that she sometimes took to her room and would not come out or answer the door for very many days. Her family clicked their tongues, muttered in hushed voices and worried, hoping that she would return to them soon. (Indeed, that she would return at all.) They respected her; she had survived so much and for so long, she was the family matriarch and if she chose to die in her room this way, then sadly, so be it. But Irma inevitably came back out.
When she recovered, she recovered all of herself and went back to taking care of her home and ALL the family around her. She shopped at her market, prepared the veg on her front step, fed her cats, the Colosseum cats, gave her twopence worth to all and she cooked. She cooked Roman dishes, just the way they have always been cooked.
Irma was a purist; Roman's don't ever feel the need to change. Perche? (Why?)
This is her recipe. It is called Pasta Ceci, made exactly the way Irma taught me.
For four people:
You soak half a packet of dried ceci (chick peas) in abundant cold water (or several hand fulls)
for about 8 hours.
Put them on to boil in a large pan with approx 3-4 pints water (one and a half litres) and
several twigs of fresh rosemary.
Turn the heat down under the pan when the water boils.
Simmer for about 1 hour to 1 and half hour.
Every now and then take the cooked rosemary out and put in another twig.
Add salt to taste after about 45 minutes, or thereabouts.
When the ceci are cooked, (no longer hard but not mushy)
add the pasta, usually a short pasta.
I'm using a mixed short pasta type here.
Follow the instructions on the packet regarding cooking time in minutes.
Turn the heat off.
Let the pasta ceci stand for a while, say 15 minutes.
Serve it into dishes that look rustic if possible.
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over it.
Some may like to grate black pepper over it
Not very Roman, but tasty and nobody will tell Irma.
p.s. Never worry that you are making it wrongly.
Real Italian cooking is simple.
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