pasta e ceci (Campagna Vesuvio, chickpeas, tomato)


This luscious dish is very Italian, and very simple to prepare, although it’s also rather counterintuitive for those of us who have always thought that pasta had to be cooked in plenty of water.  It happens to produce a delicious primi, or a bowl which could serve as a main course, if one dares to offend Italian convention.

Americans generally don’t suffer from a lack of protein, but I’ll mention anyway that the extremely ancient chickpea is a rich source of that essential dietary component.

  • the appetizer was our enjoyment earlier in the evening of the second concert of the 2015 Avant Music Festival, five choral works performed by the Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble
  • the recipe for the pasta comes from, so I needn’t transcribe it here, although I have four advisories (I should probably have just included my own edited version):
    1. the instruction seems to have left out mentioning that half of the three tablespoons of olive oil at the end of the list of ingredients should be used to sauté the garlic, anchovies, and rosemary sprigs
    2. be careful not to add more liquid at the very beginning than needed to cook the pasta, as you can add more along the way
    3. Stir the contents of the pot while they cook, adjusting the heat if necessary
    4. and finally, disregard the instruction, “cook till one minute less than the package recommends”, as you will find that it will almost certainly take longer than that, especially if the pasta is artisanal (which means there will be no instruction on the package anyway), so just cook the mixture until the pasta is al dente

    The list of ingredients I used began with the voluptuous curves of Afeltra Pasta di Gragnolo ‘Vesuvio’ from Eataly;  there were also salted anchovies from Buon Italia, canned San Marzano tomatoes, also from Buon Italia, fresh rosemary from John D, Maderna Farm, and 24-month-old Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia

  • the wine was an Argentinian red, Zolo Signature Red 2012 (with only a very small percentage of Malbec grapes)
  • the music was John Cage’s 44 Harmonies and 14 Tunes from ‘Apartment House 1776