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 fajole, 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, then baked.

I recently made this pasta dish for a lenten Friday. The simple photo was so popular, I decided to share the recipe here. It’s a delicious comfort food to me, and it’s fairly simple to make. Enjoy!

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Pasta Cici

This meatless meal is simple and delicious. The beans provide protein, and are high in fiber. This recipe serves 6-8 people.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Servings: 6 servings


  • 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 Cici beans drained and rinsed, garbanzo beans
  • 1 lb small macaroni such as elbow or Ditalini
  • 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.