When In Doubt: Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas

October 10, 2020
When In Doubt: Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas - Comfort food at its finest, this soupy, homely, immensely satisfying Italian dish

“Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as “big bursts” and “little bursts.”

Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee’s, let’s say, or the waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”    ~ Elizabeth Strout | Olive Kitteridge

When In Doubt: Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas - Comfort food at its finest, this soupy, homely, immensely satisfying Italian dish

Jump to Recipe

Apple slices dipped in caramel sauce, afternoon popsicles with a friend, kitty treats in your sweater pocket, and wearing your good perfume for no reason at all .. a few little bursts that have been happening in our world lately

Reading – I realize I’m late to the bandwagon, but our book club just finished Olive Kitteridge and I’m smitten(!)

Marveling – at the members of the yoga studio I recently joined.  Where in the world do all of these beautiful people come from?  They all look great in Spandex and can do endless burpees in 90+ degree heat(!)  Not to mention, nobody sweats really, they all just glisten.  This.  This is one of life’s great mysteries

Grateful for – the biking (and walking) trails in Des Moines.  They’re simply amazing.

Buying(by the case) Autumnal Harvest soup at Trader Joe’s.  The chunks of squash give it texture but aren’t mushy enough to be weird.  Melty grilled cheese for dipping.  Definitely worth getting on your next trip(!)

Cure for a bad day – I’d nearly forgotten about ‘The Dinner Party’ one of the funniest episodes of ‘The Office’ (maybe ever?)    [via Rolling Stone]

On the weekend to-do list – Re-poting that plant you’ve been meaning to re-home. (This is me @ me)

Truly – Is there anything better than college football on a Saturday afternoon?

When In Doubt: Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas - Comfort food at its finest, this soupy, homely, immensely satisfying Italian dish

Discovered  – staying busy is good for the soul.  Work really picked up this summer and my mental health seemed to follow.

Studying – I’ve gone back to school to work on my Computer Science degree(!)  In my new position, my skills could definitely use a refresh.  Way back when, I studied math, and earned enough credits for a Comp Sci minor, so I have a ways to go.

Remembering – those late nights, coding in C++ on the very first computer my dad bought for me, connected via AOL.  A baby sleeping in her bassinet alongside.

So much empathy – for anyone who’s lost (or are worried) about losing their job.  Once it happens to you, it’s one of those scars that you live with forever.  One that fundamentally changes the way you see (and live in) the world.

Reminding myself – To take a deep breath and then another.  Then at least one more after that.  Loosen your jaw.  Why in the world are you holding it so tight?

When in doubt – Put on that chill piano Spotify channel and make a Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas for someone you love.  (Silently hope they’ll volunteer to do the dishes)    [via Spotify]

When In Doubt: Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas - Comfort food at its finest, this soupy, homely, immensely satisfying Italian dish

If you’re anything like me, there are two types of recipes in your arsenal.  Those that are quick and easy go-tos; the ones I think of when planning recipes for a busy week.  They’re rarely mind-blowing, but they’re dependable, satisfying, and keep us from over-spending on carryout.

The second are weekend projects.  The family specialties or baking projects.  They aren’t so much about feeding myself as they are about treating myself.  While the process is far more involved, it’s all worth it once I taste the first spoonful of rice pudding, a spoonful of beef stew, or my grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies.

Rare are the recipes that combine the convenience of the first with the soul-satisfying flavors of the second.  But I’m happy to report, I’ve found one that does.

When In Doubt: Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas - Comfort food at its finest, this soupy, homely, immensely satisfying Italian dish

Pasta e Ceci (pasta and chickpeas) is a traditional Roman recipe.  It’s a simple dish: pasta and chickpeas cooked in a tomato broth (water and tomato paste spiced up with garlic and red pepper flakes) and topped with a rosemary and garlic-infused oil.

The recipe takes only half an hour, start to finish. There’s very little chopping involved, only a couple of garlic cloves, and some rosemary. It also doesn’t require fancy equipment, so you can make it no matter your kitchen setup. Without the Parmesan, it’s vegan, a subtlety you won’t notice until the day you have the privilege of feeding a vegan. When you’ll realize that this is, of course, the very best meal to make.

I’ve made it for my husband, friends, family, vegetarians, and carnivores, in the dead of winter and the heat of summer. I’ve burned the garlic, forgone the red pepper flakes, blindly played with the measurements. No matter the mess-ups, it always turns out to be delicious.

Really Enjoy!


~ Adapted from Bon Appetit

Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas


  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
  • 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 6 oz short pasta
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm a glug oil. Add onion and a strong pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has beginning to soften (~ 5 minutes).
  • Mash ¼ cup of the chickpeas. Add them, along with the garlic, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and garlic are both very soft and just beginning to brown around the edges (~ 5 minutes longer)
  • Add rosemary and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant (~ 30 seconds)
  • Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are slightly thickened (~ 8-10 minutes)
  • Add pasta and 4 cups of water. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook, until pasta is al dente, 13–16 minutes depending on the shape. Stir occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking,
  • Stir in parsley and Parmesan; season with another pinch salt and a grind of black pepper.
  • Divide brothy pasta between bowls. Drizzle with a little more oil and top with Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 348
Total Fat 11.6g
Saturated Fat 2.2g
Carbohydrates 52.6g
Fiber 10g
Sugars 7.8g
Protein 12.9g
Print This Recipe

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating