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Growing up Catholic with an Italian mother and grandmother, we went meatless on Fridays during Lent. Unlike many of our other Catholic counterparts who did fish fries, we usually at what my mother used to call “peasant food”. Meals such as polenta, pasta fagioli, or pasta cici were common. She also baked fish, such as flounder or cod, that would be topped with a mixture of bread crumbs, herbs, and olive oil, and then baked.

You can make Pasta Ceci with things you may already have on hand – pasta, tomato sauce, and a can of chick peas. This dish is delicious comfort food to me, and it’s healthy, inexpensive, and fairly simple to make. Enjoy!

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Pasta Ceci

This meatless meal is simple and delicious. The beans provide protein, and are high in fiber. This recipe serves 6-8 people.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 servings
Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN,


  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 1 28- ounce can tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can Ceci beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed, garbanzo beans
  • 1 lb Ditalini or another small macaroni such as elbows
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese optional


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat for a minute, then add onion and garlic to hot oil. Stir, and cook until onion is transparent.
  • Add tomato puree and water, oregano and salt. Add rinsed beans, and allow sauce to simmer on for at least an hour.
  • Once sauce has simmered, bring water to boil in a large stock pot.
  • Cook macaroni according to package, al dente (about 7-8 minutes).
  • Drain macaroni and pour into sauce pot. Stir until coated, allow to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Serve in pasta bowls, with a spoon. Add freshly ground black pepper and grated cheese.