Well hello, my little chickadee. I mean my little chickpea. My little garbanzo. My little cecio. The ancient Romans loved their chickpeas, supposedly because they were Venus’ favorite food, and were also thought to be an aphrodisiac, which makes them a perfect Valentine’s Day treat! Who needs chocolates when you can have chickpeas? I also think that the word chickpea makes a great term of endearment, especially in Italian. The Italians love their diminutives, which vary by region, and can be strung together. For example, if you want to refer to your Valentine as your little chickpea in Italian, you could call her (or him, with an ending in o): la mia ceciella, or cecietta, or cecina, or cecicchia, or ceciotta, or ceciuccia, or ceciuzza, or cecinetta, or cecinella… I could go on. And who doesn’t want to be someone’s little chickpea? So regardless of what day it is, make your little chickpea a bowl of pasta con ceci, because, after all, the way to the heart is through the stomach.
Highly nutritious, and globally popular, chickpeas have been a source of food for nearly 8000 years. Widely consumed in Italy, they are added to pasta, soups, and salads and mix well with almost any food.
If using dry chickpeas, soak them overnight in water. Drain them, and then boil them in a large pot of water for approximately 45 minutes, or until tender, being careful that they do not break apart.
Puree one cup of the chick peas in a food processor, adding some water as needed. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onion until golden. Add the chick pea puree, the rosemary, and salt and pepper. Add about 1/2 cup water. After a couple of minutes, add the whole chick peas and stir. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain it, retaining some of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the chick pea mixture. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the retained cooking water. Mix well and serve with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.
The total cooking and prep time assumes the use of canned chickpeas.