A Spin on Pasta e Ceci


I seldom follow recipes. I almost always make a change or substitute an ingredient the very first time I try a recipe. I don’t know why, I just do. In culinary school we were given recipes and told to run with them. Our chefs never expected us to follow the recipe just the process. The process is important not necessarily the ingredients. Darn teachers! This must be the reason why I don’t ever make the same thing twice. I am actually surprised that I can even blog recipes since I almost always “wing it”.  Lately I have been forcing myself to measure everything I add to my pot on the stove or bowl of batter so that I can blog about them and know they will work.

Here is a perfect example of a recipe that I had to change before I even made it once.  While I knew the original recipe that used pancetta would taste wonderful, I did not have any in the house.  Therefore I resorted to using lean ground turkey.  I am sure you could also substitute ground beef as well.  This soup tastes similar to minestrone because of my substitution and would be even closer to minestrone if I would have added kidney beans.  Kevin and I enjoyed eating it along with some good ole’ crusty bread and dipping oil.

A Spin on Pasta e Ceci

Serves 4 to 6

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 large fresh rosemary sprig

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 c. chopped onion

3 ounces pancetta, chopped (I subbed lean ground turkey)

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups low- sodium chicken broth

2 (14.5- ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5- ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice

¾ cup ditalini (thimble- shaped pasta)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish


Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta (or ground turkey) and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, and herb sprigs. Cover and bring to a boil over medium- high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the herb stems from the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf.

Transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture to a blender and reserve. Add the ditalini to the soup pot, cover, and bring the liquid back to a boil. Boil gently until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Puree the reserved bean mixture until smooth, then stir the puree into the boiling soup. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with some freshly grated Parmesan and serve.

Source: Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis


1 Response to “A Spin on Pasta e Ceci”

  1. 1 Ady February 21, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Mia! This looks delicious! I told mom and dad that I want this dish!

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February 2009
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