Recipe: Pasta With Chickpeas

Photo: VeselovaElena/Getty Images

On a (pre-pandemic) visit to Puglia, Italy, Rebecca Field Jager stops in at the Cooking Experience, a culinary school situated in one of the city’s historic palazzos. There, beneath a vaulted stone ceiling and surrounded by ancient stone walls, owner Gianna Greco teaches her how to make traditional Italian dishes like this ciceri e trio (pasta with chickpeas).

Origin of the fried tria: Tria is the pasta shape – wide strips, somewhere between tagliatelle and pappardelle but shorter in length. For this recipe, two-thirds of the pasta is boiled, while one-third of the pasta is deep fried to mimic crispy pancetta.

For the Pasta

500 g mixed flour (400 g of wheat flour and 100 g of barley flour if available)

Warm water

1 pinch salt

Extra virgin olive oil, for frying

For the Chickpea Sauce

300 g dried chickpeas

2 or 3 tomatoes, halved

1 celery stick, chopped

Handful chopped parsley

1 clove garlic

1 dry hot pepper

Extra virgin olive oil



Put flour on worktop. Create a well and slowly add warm water. Start to pinch flour with water to bring dough together. Mix dough, pressing it under the palm until soft and elastic (5 to 10 minutes of kneading).

Flour worktop and flatten dough with rolling pin until 2 to 3 mm thick. Trim edges to make square or rectangle. Cut dough into strips about 1.5 cm wide and 7 to 15 cm long. Place strips on clean dishcloth sprinkled with flour. Cover with more flour to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together, and let dry for a few hours.

Chickpea Sauce

Soak chickpeas overnight or for at least 12 hours. Drain and return to pan. Add tomatoes, parsley and celery. Cover with water 2 cm above chickpeas, and cook over low heat for 3 hours. Add salt to taste.

In a separate pan, add an inch or two of extra virgin olive oil – enough to fry pasta (it can be quite a shallow fry). Add garlic and pepper and cook on medium-high until garlic is light brown. Remove garlic, and add about a third of pasta (70 to 80g). Cook until crispy, place on paper towel to drain.

In large pot of boiling water, cook remaining pasta until el dente. Drain and add to chickpeas. Add fried pasta, reserving some for topping. Cook together for a minute, then add the olive oil used for deep-frying the fried pasta. Stir together, top with the reserved fried pasta and serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings