Pasta e ceci

Because this is a lovely warming dish that I tend to develop an irresistable craving for while walking home on a chilly evening, I often use canned chickpeas (scandal!). If you are planning ahead, put some dried chickpeas on to soak the night before, then cook them for 45-60 minutes before beginning the recipe below.

400g canchickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 cups or sovery dilute vegetable stock (or use water)
1 sprigfresh rosemary
1bay leaf (fresh if possible)
3garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
70 g or sochifferi rigati or other short elbow pasta
dried chilli flakes or crushed chilli, to taste
fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
olive oil (optional)
freshly finely grated parmesan (optional)

Put the drained chickpeas into a medium sized saucepan and just cover with stock. Add the rosemary, bay leaf and garlic, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through and getting quite soft. Keep an eye on the pot, stir every now and then, and add more stock if necessary.

With a potato masher, roughly mash the mixture in the pot until about half the chickpeas are mashed, but leave some whole. Add the pasta and a little more stock, and season to taste with salt, pepper and chilli. Cook until the pasta is al dente, making sure that you stir and add more stock as necessary (the soup should remain very thick). Taste again and adjust seasoning if needed, and remove the bay leaf and any visible remains of the rosemary.

To serve, spoon into bowls, then stir through the parsley. I like it as it is, but you could also drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil or sprinkle with parmesan.

This makes enough for two (or, I admit, a huge bowl for one).

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