For the Italian cook, food ingredients from a working kitchen are never wasted or thrown out. While growing up, I watched my Nonna use whatever she found in her pantry – a pasta package that was partially used. She’d break up raw spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine into small pieces. After cooking the broken pasta, she combined it with chickpeas and tomato sauce. We called this comfort food pasta e ceci.

You can make this in minutes and call it Pasta with Chick Peas! If you want to feel like you’re standing on the Italian peninsula, then combine a few long pasta varieties (in leftover packages) and cook them all together in one pot.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

1 pound spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine, broken into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
One 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained, rinsed & drained again
2 to 3 cups pre-made tomato sauce

1. Bring a 4 to 6-quart saucepot of water to a boil.

2. Add the pasta and salt to the boiling water.

3. Cook the pasta according to package directions or until it is al dente (crunchy-tender), about 8 to 10 minutes.

4. When pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander.

5. Add the pasta back to the sauce pot; stir in 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce and the drained chickpeas.

6. Stir and heat through.

7. Serve in individual bowls. Ask guests to add grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese to their pasta with chickpeas.

Note: Enjoy this dish with a favorite Chardonnay (white) or Chianti (red) wine.
Text and Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real