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This is a super classic Italian pasta dish and my personal favourite comfort food, all I need is a plate of pasta with chickpeas and I’m at peace.

Over the years I’ve worked on my recipe to make it tasty, quick and simple. Here I have cooked it with organic white spelt conchiglie, but this is great with any short shape pasta, ideally pasta mista, which is a mix of short shapes and broken spaghetti. Years ago left over broken pasta was sold for pennies, so this is a staple a southern Italy cucina povera. We do not make pasta mista yet, but if you have the odd bits of pasta left around, please use it with this chickpeas sauce.

The true beauty of this recipe is that the pasta cooks with the sauce so you do not need to boil any water at all. Here's a basic version. You can make it richer by adding rosemary or mature grated cheese while the pasta is cooking.

A note on preparing chickpeas: soak them for 6 hours at least, bring them to the boil and simmer for at least one hour (add more water if needed). You can then use them straight away or pour them while still hot in a jar, close, let it cool down and refrigerate. That way chickpease and their water will last you at least a couple of weeks.

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  • Start by draining the chickpeas and keep their water aside (we call this water acqua fava). Top the acqua fava with hot water up to 500ml in total. Keep 1/3 of the drained chickpeas aside and add the rest to the acqua fava.

  • Blend the soaked chickpeas in a food processor until smooth. 

  • Peel and core the garlic cloves and finely chop them. Finely chop the parsley too (leaves and stalks) and keep them aside.

  • Choose a large enough pan and place it on a gentle heat. Add oil, garlic and chili flakes and let it all cook gently until slightly browned..

  • Once ready, add the drained chickpeas first, and after a couple of minutes the chickpeas puree, the chopped parsley, all the pasta and another 500 ml of hot water. Stir well and increase the heat to high.

  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste and keep stirring until the pasta is cooked. It should take 12 minutes and should end up quite thick like in the picture above (that's how I like it). Add more water if you like it smoother or wish to eat it with a spoon. 

​INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 320g of Pastificio Carleschi white spelt conchiglie

  • 250g of Hodmedod's British chickpeas (dry)

  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and senz'anima​​​​ - with the core removed)

  • a handful of flat leaf parsley (stalk included)

  • red dry chili flakes

  • 5 tablespoons of rapeseed oil (or more if you like)

  • Black/green ground peppercorn​

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