Pasta and Chick Peas

Published February 8, 2019

Pasta and Chick Peas was one of our family favorites. Sitto always called it “Mugrabiya” in Arabic. In those early days, Sitto made it mostly on a meatless Friday. Like all the dishes that these early Syrian immigrants from Aleppo made for their families, it was frugal, filling and fabulous! I can remember a big pot of Pasta and Chick Peas on Sitto’s iron stove. The scent of the onions and butter invitingly called us all to the table. The whole family loved this dish. Each one of us had our favorites in there, like those whole pearl onions, hearty chick peas and toasted pasta in clarified butter. Sitto didn’t serve it as a side dish…it was our dinner! Thinking back, I realized that when I was growing up, we didn’t realize we were poor, but dishes like this were as welcomed as any of the most exotic of dinners!

Years later, Mugrabiya was one of the easiest dishes I learned as a young cook. As a young mother, this dish became one that I relied upon for our three hungry children. What I didn’t count on, though, was that each had their favorites and each had their dislikes! My son would take out the onions, my daughter would take out the chick peas and my other daughter took out all but the pasta! But all of them sure loved those tiny pasta. I smile as I remember that, like all youngsters, they were sure of their likes and dislikes. Today, they enjoy all of it!

This Pasta and Chick Peas dish resembles Couscous and is considered a hearty side dish. This is also another one of those dishes that Vegetarians will welcome. There are several in the cookbook that are meatless. Find this recipe on page 125 of Sitto’s Kitchen II cookbook.