/Pasta corta con cicerchie al peperoncino

Pasta corta con cicerchie al peperoncino

Allow me to preface this post with a well known fact: I am an eater, not a cook. It’s not that I don’t like cooking or that I am particularly bad at it. It’s just that most days, I work during market hours and/or I end up eating so much cheese and pork while I’m out and about, that when I come home I just need to detox. I’m a big fan of simple legume or pasta dishes and I hoard packages of both in my pantry.

Last week, I decided to put the two together and made a light, healthy, and (I can hardly write this) vegan dish. I adapted a recipe for pasta e cicerchie al peperoncino I found on the Italian blog Una Finestra di Fronte written by Milena Stasi.

I used cicerchie (ancient legumes similar to chick peas) I picked up at the Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo and Pastificio dei Campi‘s new shape, mista corta di Gragnano. Giuseppe di Martino, close friend, pasta addict and owner of PdC, described to me the cultural history of the new shape when we met for coffee recently. He can do a much better job of explaining it than I can and I invite him to comment below.

Pasta corta con cicerchie al peperoncino (serves 4)

250g/half a pound Pastificio dei Campi’s mista corta di Gragnano
250g/half a pound cicerchie
dried red chili peppers
extra virgin olive oil

Soak the cicerchie for 24 hours, drain, and wash them well. Place them in a pot of fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer over a low heat until tender. Some recipes I encountered suggest sauteing them in olive oil for a few minutes before adding water. In a deep pan, saute two whole garlic cloves in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add chili peppers (I added 3 small ones that I had crushed, but the number can vary depending on the amount of heat you are going for) and cook for a minute or two on low heat. Turn off heat and remove garlic. Add pasta to boiling salted water. Once oil has cooled, add some of the pasta water then return pan to a low heat. I added half a ladle full and continued to add the starchy water in small amounts as it reduced. Cook the pasta until very very al dente, drain, and reserve some of the water. Unite pasta and cicerchie in the pan with oil and chili peppers and finish cooking, adding pasta water as needed. Serve with a side of chili pepper and a bit of oil drizzled over each bowl.

2016-01-09T13:34:37+00:00 March 13th, 2011|Categories: Carbs, Food & Wine|11 Comments


  1. MegRhi March 14, 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

    I love seeing recipes on your blog! Throw a few in whenever you can.

  2. Sima Perla March 14, 2011 at 8:53 am - Reply

    wow I love the simplicity of this dish very easy to make perfect !!
    I will make it foe my Pasta man , Lol have to go to Italian market to found the cicerchie?
    Yes more recipes pleas ..

  3. Tom March 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    At what point do the cicerchie and pasta meet in the recipe? Am I missing something? Otherwise, sounds delicious; I am a peperoncino addict!

  4. lydia March 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Ciao Katia, sono un’amica di Giuseppe di Martino.
    Giuseppe mi ha parlato molto bene di te.
    Piacere di fare la tua conoscenza

  5. Giuseppe di Martino March 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    My dear Katie,

    Great to see you for a fast coffee, it is always fun.

    Re the mista, o mischiato (mixed) the origin is very typical of the southern italian cousine, and follows the tradition of making great food of small things or the wisdom of not producing unnecessary waste.
    Everybody abroad believes that Italians eat everyday pasta tomatoes and basil, or spaghetti bolognese (this dish does not exist in Italy), the reality is that on a tipical week in Naples or the South of Italy pasta is present everyday, but typically from mondays to fridays with simple and unexpensive ingredients such as pulses, of any kind as beans, lentils, chickpeas, cicerchie, and in spring fresh peas, fresh beans etc. , in addition to this minestrone soups, pasta and potatoes, and so on.
    The” king tomato” was saved, when not in season, as a preserve in jars kept in the pantry for 8 months, the jars were the result of a great and hard work done by the entire family in August to keep the richness and the sweetness of ripe tomatoes, for the sunday ragù, a recipe that is a mith in the mind of neapolitan, until the new season started again.
    So the “mischiato”: this is a selection of shapes “mixed” with great knowledge and taste by the women that, by keeping small quantities of different shapes in the bags everytime they opened one, decided on every occasion how to elaborate the mix, that they would use, on the base of what was the consistency of the sauce or the ingredient, so they broke some spaghetti, linguine, or fresine and any other long pasta, and used them for lentils soups, or peas or light minestrone soups, as the skin of those pulses and their consistency was delicate and would armonise, or fusilli, tubes, spirali, or mafaldine (curly pasta) shells, and some others thick shapes, for beans soup, chickpeas, cicerchie, etc. again to have the right partner for those ingeredients much more powerful and with a different mouthfill.
    So behind the choice of a shape there is a lot of thoughts and normally speaking one recipe only dedicated to it.
    We have decided to develop the two shapes of mischiata, one “potente” and one ” delicato” in order to keep this tradition alive, and because on the market only a simplified version with 5 shapes is generally available in Italy, and none abroad.
    Katie you have married perfectly the shape with the recipe well done!.

  6. Mamma Parla March 15, 2011 at 5:03 am - Reply

    looks so tasty…preparing and enjoying simple pasta dishes is genetic…cant wait for you to make it for me!

  7. Katie March 16, 2011 at 10:57 am - Reply

    @MegRhi I shall do my best!

    @Sima cicerchie are available in few Italian markets in the States. They aren’t even available widely in Italy! You can sub in dried chickpeas. Let me know if you find them!!

    @Tom I think I do a poor job of illustrating the recipe, but the pasta is drained, then finished in the pan with the oil and peperoncino: “Cook the pasta until very very al dente, drain, and reserve some of the water. Add pasta to the pan with oil and chili peppers and finish cooking, adding pasta water as needed. ” Peperoncino is awesome.

    @Lydia Ciao! Piacere conoscerti elettronicamente;) Giuseppe ha parlato molto bene anche di te. Adoro il tuo blog e spero di conoscerti da vivo presto! Un abbraccio

    @Giuseppe Wow! Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply. I love listening to you recount the history of various pasta shapes and this idea of “potente” and “delicato” is fascinating. Will I see you in Rome next week? You can meet mamma parla!!

    @Mamma Parla at first I thought it would be too warm to make it again, but it’s pouring and nasty in Rome. Can’t wait to make it for you too! XO

  8. Tom March 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    Call me crazy Katie, but I still don’t see when the beans which are cooked in a separate pot make it into the pot with the pasta/oil/ peperoncino mixture.

    Sorry for being so dense!

    • Katie March 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm - Reply

      sorry for what? im the dense one. i am a terrible editor. it is something i try to fight but to no avail. i had indeed skipped the line in which the cicerchie end up in the pan with the al dente pasta, oil and peperoncino. THANK YOU for picking up on that!!!

  9. Tom March 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks Katie. I swear I read the recipe over and over and really thought I was missing something since no one else noticed it. I have to admit, being a copywriter/proofreader, home cook and all-around food lover, I tend to read recipes with a keen eye. Glad I could help! 🙂

  10. Katie March 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    @Tom Thanks again! I really can use all the help i can get most days;)

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