This is a major week night winner. Super easy and super flavorful. This recipe is largely based on a Cooks Illustrated recipe with the same name. My version below basically has all the major flavor components upped a level. The pancetta, anchovy, garlic, and chili flake is all ramped up along with oregano and basil added.
This is gonna be in the regular rotation in our house.
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved and rough chopped
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 4-5 anchovy fillets, minced
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)
- 2 cups water
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces ditalini pasta
- 1/2 a lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Parmesan cheese (for serving)
Process pancetta in food processor until ground to a rough chunky paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add carrot, celery, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, about 8 to 10 pulses. Add onion and then give it another 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer the pancetta mixture to large Dutch oven.
Pulse tomatoes in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Set aside.
Add oil to pancetta mixture in Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, about 5 minutes. Add anchovy, pepper flakes, rosemary, basil, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve, passing Parmesan and extra oil separately.