Lagane e Ceci (Flat Pasta and Chickpeas)

This recipe is from Arthur Schwartz’s book, The Southern Italian Table, via the City Cook. He says, “Lagane, a short, wide ribbon or rectangular fresh semolina-and-water pasta, is the traditional pasta used in this dish.  However, factory-made pasta with chickpeas is the norm in Italy today.  Prepared with chickpeas from a can or jar, seasoned with nothing more than garlic, either parsley or rosemary, and fragrant olive oil, it’s the best kind of convenience food.”

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or 1/2 to 1 fresh or dried hot red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
1 (15-16-ounce) cans chickpeas
8 ounces dried small pasta, such as lagane, ditali, pennette, or broken lasagne

In a small saucepan, combine the garlic, oil, red pepper flakes, and rosemary.  Over low heat, let the garlic sizzle until it barely begins to brown. Add the chickpeas with all of their liquid.  Simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Boil the pasta in at least 3 quarts of water with 1 heaping tablespoon of salt. Just before the pasta is done, with a potato masher or the bottom of a tumbler (or more carefully with an immersion blender), mash about half the chickpeas right in the pot. When the pasta is done, scoop out a cup of pasta cooking water (in case you want to loosen the sauce), then drain the noodles well.

Combine the pasta with the chickpeas in a large serving bowl.  Toss well.  Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water if the pasta is too dry.  (It should not be soupy, however.) Serve very hot with either olio santo (hot pepper oil) or condiment-quality extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top. Serves 4 or 5.

The City Cook

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