Ceci (Chickpea) Pasta Casserole Recipe – Inspired by Florence, Italy

My tummy started to growl during a long stroll to nowhere in Florence, Italy. My fury erupts when I’m hungry. Others have called me everything from “gremlin” to “monster” so I needed a bite quickly! As I wove through the quieter streets, I prayed that I wouldn’t fall into a tourist trap.

I peeped into an unremarkable restaurant that was buzzing with diners. I entered with my fingers crossed. Little did I know, I was about to enjoy one of the most delicious meals of my life.

The lunch menu had six simple items that were made entirely from scratch. As I savored each bite, the fresh ingredients danced in my mouth. The luscious tagliatelle e funghi was simply unforgettable.

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One dish particularly stood out during this meal. On the hand-written menu, it was simply listed as “e ceci”. I understood that ceci meant chickpeas (which I adore) so I gave it a whirl.

The server placed a bowl of brown soup with little ditalini pasta peeking through and a heavy swirl of olive oil. This must be a mistake, I thought. I dipped my spoon in suspiciously, slurpped up the mysterious slurry, and smiled in contentment. Slow-simmered and pureed chickpeas, little loops of pasta, and good olive oil. Simplicity exemplified.

Please don’t hate me but I cannot recall the name of the place for the life of me. But if you are willing to shell out some dough, I’m willing to dig through my stacks of receipts for you, k?

Fast forward to reality. I was invited to a last minute potluck dinner and my fridge was near empty. I frantically rummaged through my pantry and found a pack of pasta and a can of chickpeas. These items brought me right back to my leisurely lunch that faithful day in Florence. I scrummaged a few more kitchen staples together and created this potluck friendly version of pasta e ceci.

Ceci Casserole


  • 1/2 lb of dry pasta
  • 1 large can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Good olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350 F

Cook the pasta until almost a dente in a large pot of heavily salted water. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, sweat the onions in some olive oil until caramelized. Season with salt. Add the chickpeas and garlic and cook over medium heat until the chickpeas are warmed through. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

Blend the mixture until smooth while drizzling in 1/3 cup of olive oil. Stir in the sour cream. Add the pasta, half of the cheese, and the parsley.

Transfer to an oven-safe dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake in the oven until bubbly and the cheese is lightly golden, approx 10 minutes. Serve hot, drizzled with more olive oil.

Serves 8 side dish portions

  1. June 07, 2010 by Kristina

    oh, wow, that tagliatelle e funghi looks so amazing delicious…

    ans the Ceci…? wow. I would have never thought to dream up something using these flavors, and I bet it is great… I may have to try this…

    thank you again for the inspiration, I love your blog!!

  2. June 08, 2010 by admin

    @Kristina – please do give it a try :) This blog loves YOU!

  3. June 08, 2010 by Nick (Macheesmo)

    Wow! That’s my kind of casserole! I never would’ve thought to use chickpeas. Really great recipe and photos as always :)

  4. June 09, 2010 by Linn @ Swedish home cooking

    I wanna go back to Florence after reading your post. The recipe really got me inspired!

  5. June 09, 2010 by Kate

    That looks amazing! I’m definitely going to try it sometime Great post! :)

  6. June 09, 2010 by Julia

    YUM! What a creative pasta dish but SO delicious sounding!

  7. June 09, 2010 by Brenda

    Looks delicious and I want to make this, but how do I print the recipe?

  8. June 09, 2010 by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

    What a lovely recipe! It looks very comforting and delicious.

  9. June 11, 2010 by Joanne

    I love how you mash the chickpeas up and use them to bind together the pasta dish! It’s almost like hummus. (Hmm I wonder how it would taste with a little tahini thrown in…)

    Beautiful dish!

  10. June 15, 2010 by Teresa

    sorry couldn’t go drinkies with you tonight..but soon! I had 4 glasses of cheap wine yesterday..and felt it at work haha. I bookmarked this looks so tasty and so easy to make!

  11. June 17, 2010 by zenchef

    Ahh.. so you get cranky when hungry!? I have a few freinds like that. hehe.. Beautiful casserole by the way, bubbly cheese, pasta and chickpeas can’t do the world no wrong. [stomach growling]

  12. June 23, 2010 by Bonita

    I absolutely love chickpeas. This recipe looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. June 26, 2010 by Kampot pepper

    For Pepper, I advise a fragrant pepper, Kampot Pepper. It grown in a small area in Cambodia, and it is very delicious in taste and in smell.

  14. October 06, 2010 by Leah

    I just tried to make this because it looked so delicious. Unfortunately, it came out VERY watery. Do you have any suggestions? I’m guessing that next time I should add more chickpeas/less chicken broth and that should do the trick. Great flavor anyways!

  15. December 03, 2010 by Melody Fury

    Leah – oops! Just remember to drain the chickpeas well and add the liquid slowly. Not all at once :) Every brand is different so the consistency will differ. Thanks for trying!

  16. February 05, 2011 by Jessica Roberts-Farina

    Oh My God Melody, I adore you for putting this recipe up! I am on an anti-inflammatory diet for life and I am not the hugest meat-eater naturally, so legumes are my best friend. And I love chickpeas! Chickpea patties, hummus, roasted chickpeas, yum!
    This looks like an unbelievably delicious and easy to make pasta. I’ll have to find a gluten-free pasta-which is easy in this town-but oh wow, my stomach is grumbling already. Thank you!

  17. February 18, 2011 by Jessica Roberts-Farina

    This was delicious! I’m glad I read Leah’s post and your response re: the chickpeas and broth. I had a feeling it was going to be something like risotto in that the chickpeas would need to simmer a long time to absorb the broth just like Arborio rice in a risotto. I found adding the broth all at once did still work just fine, you just have to leave it for awhile, simmering away. Altogether I used 2 cups of parmesan cheese, and that was cheesy and salty enough!
    Thanks Melody! This will be my dinner for two to three days in a row.

  18. February 18, 2011 by Jessica Roberts-Farina

    I had an additional thought: it’s a bit too salty for my taste. Melody, do you have a brand or deli you prefer to get your Parmesan cheese from? Thanks!

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