pasta and chickpeas
Pasta & Rice Sauces & Soups

Pasta and Chickpeas “alla Romana”

Pasta and Chickpeas is a warm, comforting and protein-rich soup, typical in many places in Italy, but in Rome, there is a secret ingredient that makes this recipe unique!

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There is a traditional dish that when you are in Rome, you cannot fail to try: it’s Roman-style Pasta and Chickpeas Soup!
Although most tourists and foreigners usually enjoy dishes such as Carbonara, Gricia or Cacio e Pepe, I assure you that this soup is one that you cannot miss!

The origins of Pasta and Chickpeas “alla Romana”

Roman-style Pasta and Chickpeas is a recipe of very ancient origins, which date back to the farmers’ tradition.

In the past traditionally, women in the countryside prepared this soup on Friday, the day of Christian lean, or on Christmas Eve.
The main feature of this recipe is its high nutrient content. Centuries ago, in fact, farmers had to work a whole day in the fields and have enough energy to continue their hard day. This recipe, which contains everything in one dish, was perfect!

Therefore it’s still true that Pasta and Chickpeas is a one-meal dish. Because it contains a lot of nutrients, such as the carbohydrates of pasta and also the proteins of chickpeas. This is why it is a meal that satisfies and nourishes correctly and in a healthy way!

The secret ingredient of Roman-style Pasta and Chickpeas

There are several versions of pasta and chickpeas throughout Italy.
In Tuscany, for example, they add chestnuts during the autumn. While in Naples we cook dry, almost not in soup. Finally, in Puglia, you will often find the addition of mussels.

The Roman version of Pasta è Ceci Soup is probably the most famous Italian. And, what makes it unique is the addition of a secret ingredient: anchovies.

In Rome, there is no mention of Pasta and Chickpeas, if there are not 2 or 3 anchovies fried in oil at the beginning of cooking.
Once the oil is heated in the pot together with the garlic, the anchovies that melt naturally must be added. They make the soup even tastier, without however invading its flavor.

Obviously, if you are not a big fan of anchovies, you can eliminate them, you will always have an excellent and tasty Pasta and Chickpeas soup!

Which chickpeas to use

Traditionally, Pasta and Chickpeas alla Romana is made by using Dried Chickpeas. At first, the dried chickpeas should be put in water for a whole night so that they rehydrate. Then, the next day you have to rinse the chickpeas and boil them.

However, if you are late or decide to cook Pasta and Chickpeas at the last minute, you can safely use canned chickpeas. These Organic Natural Chickpeas with no salt added are one of my favorites! In this case, for 4 persons, you will need about two cans.

In addition, by doing this, your soup will be ready in less than 30 minutes!

Some useful Tips

To adjust the consistency of the soup to your liking, keep some hot broth warm and close at hand. By doing this, if the soup seems too dry, you can make it soupier by adding a little boiling liquid.
For a great broth recipe, check out our how-to-make broth easily and healthily.

Remember to add salt only after the chickpeas are cooked otherwise, they will remain hard and inedible!

To get a very creamy version of your soup, lightly blend the chickpeas with an Immersion Blender halfway through cooking.

If you are undecided about which pasta to use, for this recipe, the Barilla Ditalini are my favorites.

However, this is also an anti-waste dish, so an excellent alternative is to mix and break up many different types of pasta you have in the pantry!

Yield: 4

Pasta and Chickpeas "alla Romana"

pasta and chickpeas

Pasta and Chickpeas is a warm, comforting, and protein-rich soup, typical in many places in Italy, but in Rome, a secret ingredient makes it unique!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes


  • 200 g dried chickpeas or 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 sage leaves (optional)
  • 3 anchovies in oil
  • 4 or 5 red tomatoes
  • 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lt vegetable broth
  • 200 g Ditalini Pasta
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper (optional)


    If you use dried chickpeas, the night before you start cooking, soak them in water. The next day, rinse them off.
    Put the chickpeas to boil for about 2 hours. Once they are cooked, add 2 pinches of salt and then you can start making your soup.
    If using can chickpeas, drain the liquid before starting and rinse with fresh water.

    1. Take a high-sided saucepan and place it on the stove.

    2. Pour the oil, garlic and anchovies inside and let them fry until the anchovies are dissolved.

    3. Pour in the chickpeas and mix for 1 minute.

    4. Add the boiling vegetable broth, then the rosemary, the sage leaves, and cherry tomatoes.

    5. Let it cook for about 20 minutes, checking that the liquid does not dry out too much.

    6. After this time, add 2 more ladles of hot broth and remove the garlic, rosemary and sage.

    7. For a creamier consistency, lightly blend the chickpeas with an immersion blender directly into the pot.

    8. Then pour the pasta directly into the soup, season with salt and, let it cook according to the cooking times of the pasta.

    9. Once ready, garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary, a few drops of raw oil, and a pinch of black pepper if you like.


This dish is perfect when served hot during the winter, but it is also a clever and innovative idea when served cold as a starter.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 13gSugar: 11gProtein: 17g

Nutrition Data is automatically calculated and may be not accurate.

Are you a Soup Lover? Try also these exquisite recipes with an all-Italian flavor:

Risi and Bisi

Italian Classic Minestrone Soup

One Pot Cicerchie and Potatoes Soup

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  1. Not a big fan of chickpeas but would love to try this combo soon…

  2. This looks delicious! Pasta is my favourite!

  3. This is an excellent Meatless Monday Dish. Not a fan of chickpea, but this dish has won me over. Thanks for sharing.❤

  4. This looks amazing! I love chickpeas. What a creative recipe.

  5. This is such an interesting recipe. I love chickpeas, so I am sure I would enjoy this pasta.

  6. It sounds different than my idea of pasta, but I love chickpeas, so it’s worth a try!

  7. I love how this is a no-waste dish that makes use of whatever pastas you may have on hand! I’d love to try it with anchovies; I bet the balance of flavors is amazing!

  8. Yummy anchovies and chickpeas and pasta. Yum! I really love this recipe

  9. Jeannie says:

    I love chickpeas but never tried adding them in a pasta recipe. Thanks for the reco.

  10. Looks like a great recipe. we are definitely trying to add more chick peas to our lives!

  11. Interesting recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  12. jannine says:

    this blog just made me hungry. thanks for this!

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