Pasta with chickpeas is a classic. One of the reasons we love this dish is because it perfectly represents the idea of Cucina Povera. There are several variations of this pasta dish, but the Roman one is our favorite. Pasta e Ceci alla Romana uses anchovies and tomato concentrate, which make it especially flavorful.


TIME: About 1 hour and a half (+ chickpeas soaking time)


  1. Soak the beans in salted water overnight.
  2. Drain chickpeas and place them in a pot. Fill with enough water to cover by at least 3 inches. Season with salt and bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  3. Cook uncovered, skimming the surface of the foam as needed.
  4. Beans will be cooked when they have an evenly tender texture, but still a bite (approximately 1 hour).
  5. Drain the beans, saving their cooking water.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  7. In a pan, heat EVOO over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook until lightly brown (about 3 minutes).
  8. Add anchovies, and with the help of a wooden spoon stir until they dissolve in the oil.
  9. Add tomato concentrate and 1/2 cup of chickpea cooking water. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes, until smooth.
  10. Discard the garlic, add chickpeas to the pan, mix thoroughly* and remove from heat.
  11. Cook Mezzi Paccheri for 12 minutes. Drain, saving 1 cup of cooking pasta water.
  12. Return pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Add Mezzi Paccheri along with 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water and sautee until the sauce coats pasta, adding more cooking water (1/4 cup at the time) as needed (about 2 minutes).
  13. Serve with a sprinkle of black pepper and a drizzle of EVOO.

*You can blend or mash some of the chickpeas if you’d like a creamier texture, and add them back to the pan.

Notabene: If you are running short on time, you can do steps 1-5 the day before and store chickpeas in your fridge.