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The Secret Ingredient to the Creamiest Pasta Sauce (Without Adding Cream)

Creamy pasta in bowl

Recently while scrolling through the endless loop of TikTok food content, I came across a video from TikTok cooking sensation Corre Larkin. It was a creamy pasta sauce recipe that she dubbed “insanely good, inexpensive and easy.” Those are three things I can get behind, so I was instantly intrigued.

The video features a recipe for an Italian classic that “you’re not gonna find served in a restaurant,” says Larkin. “It’s only gonna be served in someone’s home.” I will happily and eagerly try any pasta sauce that Italian home cooks consider to be tried and true. However, I reached peak intrigue levels when Larkin panned to the ingredients used in the creamy pasta sauce and, much to my surprise, there was a can of chickpeas.

The chickpeas are the key to the creaminess of this sauce. Not only do the chickpeas let you skip the heavy cream but they also help you make a protein-packed meal in the process. Here's what you need to know about this classic Italian dish.

Related: 18 of the Most Viral TikTok Pasta Recipes of All Time

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Ingredients for Creamy Chickpea Pasta Sauce

Besides pantry staples like olive oil, salt and dried chile, all you need to make this pasta sauce is a can of chickpeas, 1/2 of an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. If you’re looking to make this dish vegan, you can use vegetable broth and skip the Parmesan.

The other key component is pasta. Larkin used quadretti, a small square-shaped pasta, but you can use any shape you like. (Perhaps it's the perfect occasion for trying out some bronze-cut pasta?)

Related: 54 Healthy Pasta Recipes

How to Make Creamy Chickpea Pasta Sauce

To make this simple but savory pasta sauce, you’ll begin by sautéing the onion, garlic and rosemary in olive oil, then adding some salt and a bit of dried chile pepper and cooking until the onion and garlic are very soft, which should take about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the can of chickpeas.

Once the aromatics have softened, add the chickpeas to the pot and cover with just enough chicken broth to cover. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes, then remove the rosemary and then pour the contents into a high-powered blender. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth, then pour the sauce back into the pot. Stir in a very healthy serving of freshly grated Parmesan and add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice.

Cook your pasta of choice, making sure to reserve a bit of pasta water. Add the drained pasta to the sauce, followed by a little bit of pasta water, and give everything a good stir. You can stop there, or fancy it up a little bit. Larkin topped her plated pasta with some fresh chives, more Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Related: 13 Incredible One-Pot Pasta Recipes

The Comments Section Is Your Friend

Everyone knows that the comments section is the best part of TikTok, and the comments section on this post was full of gems. I saw viewers leave replies saying that they use additions like pancetta and mushrooms in their version of this dish, both of which I think would work wonderfully.

I also discovered that the name of this dish is Pasta e Ceci, which literally translates to pasta with chickpeas, and it seems like this is just one of many variations of the dish. Some include tomatoes, others use white wine and many don't puree the chickpeas, but rather leave them whole. Regardless, many in the comments section found Larkin’s version to be perfectly cozy and delicious, and I for one, can't wait to add this dish to my pasta rotation.

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