There are probably infinite ways to combine pasta, tomatoes, and beans, and I do intend to try them all. Today’s recipe is another brick in the wall for that particular project: a classic Italian stew called?Pasta e Ceci (literally just pasta with chickpeas, but it sounds fancy if you use the Italian name).
This particular stew is wonderful because it is:
- both filling and nutritious
- really easy to store in the fridge and reheat
- easy to transport
- high in protein
So really, what more could you ask for?
I looked over a lot of different variations on this recipe before I created my own. They all seemed to include either bacon, pancetta, or anchovies (and if you’re not plant-based then those are options for you). I needed to ensure that my stew maintained a lot of depth of flavour without these salty, fatty, umami ingredients.
Seasoning the Stew
The three most important seasonings in the dish are?smoked paprika,?rosemary, and?red pepper flakes.?Well, it’s all important, really, but I want to highlight these three ingredients in particular, the first one especially.
Smoked paprika is a really special ingredient. In vegan or vegetarian cooking, it adds that elusive smoky flavour that is difficult to achieve.
Paprika is made from dried peppers. These peppers range from spicy to sweet, and so does paprika. The peppers are typically dehydrated with heat or in the sun, but when it’s done with smoke, you get smoked paprika. Easy!
Since it comes from a healthy plant, paprika provides a few fantastic vitamins and nutrients. So thanks to that, this stew gets a great boost in vitamin A!
Tips for Reheating
This stew has pasta in it, which is a notorious liquid-hog. Like a goldfish, it tends to grow to the size of its container. So if you pop leftover stew into the fridge, you’ll probably find that it’s quite dry with giant pasta the next day!
To counter this, I suggest adding a couple of teaspoons of vegetable stock and stirring it in. You can do this before microwaving, or while reheating on the stove top. You might need more liquid if doing the stovetop method, however, as it’ll reduce down quicker.
I will say, though, that I’ve eaten it without adding extra liquid and it still tastes lovely. It just improves the visual effect. So if you’re having it for lunch in a container at work, just do your thing, but if you’re serving it at a luncheon, consider souping it up a little.
Vegan Chickpea and Pasta Stew
A flavourful and protein-packed take on the classic Italian Pasta e Ceci stew!
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can of tomatoes
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 1/2 cups small pasta (I used shells, ditali is traditional)
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp smoked parprika
Prepare a mirepoix by finely dicing the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook in a large pot with the olive oil, stirring occasionally and keeping it covered.
Taking an immersion blender, break down the tomatoes from the can until they reach your desired size - I prefer small chunks, not a total puree.
When the mirepoix is cooked (the onions are translucent, and the whole mixture has softened), add the tomatoes.
Add the seasonings: rosemary, red pepper flakes, sea salt, parsley, paprika, and lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the tomato sauce. Add in the cup of veggie broth. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in the pasta. If the stew has reduced too much, add in another cup of veggie broth or water. The pasta will absorb this quickly; adjust for consistency.
After the pasta has cooked, serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh cracked pepper.