For the most part growing up in an Italian American home was fairly typical. The foods served to us were all American like cold cereals, tuna fish sandwiches, hamburgers and potato salad. We did however, have a few things that were quite different than most of my friends, and one of those was my grandmother’s convenience dish she’d make us kids when we stayed the night at her house. While other family’s were eating macaroni and cheese my grandma made something she called, “Ceci Di”, which was Macaroni with chickpeas and tomato sauce.
When we were young this was our form of fast, quick convenience food and it was always a given we’d have it for sleepovers at my grandma’s condo. It was served before a night of watching Star Trek as she was a Trekky before that was ever a thing.
I believe my grandmother made this dish slightly different for each of us. I didn’t like ground beef so my sauce was always vegetarian while my sister remembers the meat sauce version. Either way this dish is the definition of comfort food for me as I’m sure it is for my siblings and cousins.
My grandmother never wrote down this particular recipe so with the help of my family I pieced one together. If you love chickpeas and Italian flavors, give this pasta a try.
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or basil, roughly chopped
- Start water to boil for macaroni. As your waiting for the water to boil, saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat until starting to soften.
- Turn heat to low and add crushed garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add oregano and chickpeas and lightly cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce should be slightly thickened.
- Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and mix together with tomato sauce. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil.