Cecilina: Italian Chickpea Dip

I saw this recipe in the old Dried Beans and Grain book from the the seminal Good Cook series by Richard Olney with Jeremiah Towers, among others. It seemed a little strange and forgotten and that’s very appealing to me. And it used two cups of cooked garbanzos. I love garbanzos but when I cook a pot, sometimes it seems like too much of a good thing. I love hummus. I love Caldo Tlapeño. But what do you do with that last bit?

Grinding garbanzos in a food mill

The recipe has you process the beans in a food mill or food processor. I love my food mill so I used it, in conjunction with my bean masher. When I served this to the family, one of the comments was how great the texture was. If you can, I would avoid the processor and go manual.

The original recipe calls for pine nuts but they’re so expensive and I had black walnuts already toasted, so I used them. The original also suggests serving with corn tortilla chips. I don’t understand this at all. I used good crackers.

I’ve found very few references to Cecilina. I doubt an Italian who knows this dish would recognize it as cecilina, but if you know anything about it, I’d love to hear.

Recipe: Cecilina
Adapted from a recipe in Dried Beans and Grains (Time/Life Books, 1980) from a recipe by Alex D. Hawkes, A World of Vegetable Cookery (Simon and Schuster, 1968)

2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Garbanzo beans (also known as Ceci or chickpeas), drained
3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons toasted black walnuts, coarsely chopped (or pine nuts)
1 teaspoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
salt, pepper to taste
Rancho Gordo Rio Fuego or other hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Pass the garbanzos through a food mill. Use a bean masher to get rid of any unmashed beans. Or briefly puree in a food processor. Try and keep some texture.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat for about five minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent. Mix the onions with the garbanzos, the parsley, the nuts, the oregano and a few dashes of the hot sauce. Chill until serving, at least 30 minutes.

Put the mixture in a serving bowl and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.

Serve with crackers or flatbreads.

Cecilina: Italian garbanzo bean dip

4 Comments on Cecilina: Italian Chickpea Dip

  1. the FOOD MILL! of course! hadn’t thought of that. this recipe sounds amazing.

  2. I like to use a hand cranked meat grinder for garbanzos. I cook them until almost all liquid is absorbed or evaporated, and they are fully tender, then grind. The resulting dry fluff has more flavor than beans cooked with excess liquid,and absorbs oil beautifully.

  3. Went a little overboard the other day & cooked up almost a gallon of garbanzos. This recipe showed up the next morning…..perfect opportunity to try a new recipe. This is simple, quick and delicious. I had to use regular parsley & still have enough garbanzos to try again with the flat leaf.
    I love the flavors and nuances. This goes into my repeat file!

  4. Merci David ,i will make it for the holidays in few weeks.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.