Author Notes: I learned this several years ago from an Italian woman when we were living in Cairo. I don’t remember her name, just the single dinner party I was invited to at her home. There was a multitude of dishes, some quite elegant, but this was my favorite. It is the very definition of peasant food: simple, filling and cheap. That it is also relatively healthy is a bonus.
While it could, I’m sure, be embellished, that just wouldn’t be in keeping with the spirit of the dish.
The dish is traditionally made with ‘pasta mista’, or mixed pasta. This would be an inexpensive blend of broken pastas. You can make your own by combining approximately equal amounts of broken spaghetti, broken tagliatelle and macaroni. —innoabrd
pounds dry chickpeas
pound pasta mista (see introduction)
oilve oil, extra virgin
bunch parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
- Soak the chickpeas in water overnight with a pinch of soda.
- Drain the chickpeas and put in a large pot with a pinch of soda. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum and reduce heat. Simmer until tender. This might take an hour, it might take more, it might take slightly less. Really depends on how big and how old your chickpeas are.
- Add olive oil and parsley and mash approximately half of the chickpeas. I find a potato masher to be the ideal tool for this. The amount of oil can be adjusted to your taste, but use enough to give the mashed peas a bit of a silky texture and some flavor. I’d start with a 1/4 cup and see how you feel about it, but 1/2 cup would be more to my taste!
- Add the dry, uncooked pasta to the chickpeas and simmer until the pasta is cooked. If you need to add a bit of water at the outset feel free, but not too much, you should end up with a reasonably stiff dish that will hold its shape when served by the heaping spoonful.