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Pasta e Ceci (Italian Chickpea Soup)

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 9 cups (4 servings)
Category Lunch/Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine Italian


A simple and delicious Italian Chickpea Soup made with small pasta, an umami-rich broth, and handfuls of fresh kale.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 anchovy filets, or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, optional*
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried
  • ¾ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth*
  • cup (3 ounces) dry ditalini pasta, or other small pasta shape such as orzo or rings
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed, greens roughly chopped (4 cups)
  • Grated Pecorino cheese or Parmesan cheese, for serving


  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium. Add onion, anchovy fillets (if using), and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
    diced onions cooking in a large pot
  • Stir in garlic, tomato paste, oregano rosemary, and red-pepper flakes; cook until mixture starts to caramelize, 2–3 minutes.
    diced onions and spices cooking in a large dutch oven
  • Mash ½ cup chickpeas then add to soup with remaining chickpeas, tomatoes and their juices, and broth; bring to a boil over high heat.
    mashed chickpeas in a small glass bowl
  • Reduce heat to medium-high, add pasta and simmer, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. (If desired, add 1 cup water for a brothier soup).
    small pasta cooking a pot of tomato soup
  • Stir in kale and cook until wilted.
    a soup make with kale, pasta and tomatoes in a large pot
  • Season to taste with salt (at least 1 teaspoon) and black pepper.
  • Top each serving with grated Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove top—adding additional broth or water to thin the soup as needed. 
Make it vegetarian: skip the anchovies and bulk up the tomato paste by a teaspoon or two. Use vegetable broth.
Make it vegan: skip the anchovies and make sure to use vegetable broth. Don't finish with grated Pecorino.


Serving: 2¼ cupsCalories: 320kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 14gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 1195mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4g
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