Ceci is Italian for chick peas. This is a really simple dish with pasta and chick peas as the main ingredients. I never thought that would be a good combination, but it is surprisingly good. The pasta and chick peas together create almost a gnocchi like texture in your mouth. And a base of bacon or pancetta makes everything better. This is my modification of the Cook's Illustrated recipe.

  • 2 slices bacon or about 2 oz. pancetta
  • 1 carrot cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 anchovy filets, chopped
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 19-oz can chick peas
  • 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup ditalini
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tb lemon juice
  • 1 tb minced parsley
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Put the bacon, carrot, and celery in a food processer and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add onion and pulse until everything is finely chopped.

Heat 2 tb olive oil in Dutch oven and add bacon mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form (about 5 minutes).

Add rosemary, garlic, anchovy, and chili flakes. Cook for about one minute - it will smell really good.

Add in chick peas with their liquid, tomatoes, and water. Stir and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add pasta and simmer for another 12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.

Stir in lemon zest, juice, and parsley. Serve with parmesan cheese.