Chickpea Ragu Recipe | Italian Recipes | PBS Food

Enjoy this stovetop baked bread, caramelized squash and lightly sautéed chickpeas seasoned with fresh, natural ingredients brings a new twist to this traditional staple. This healthy version of vegetarian ragu can be served with brunch or as a main course for dinner.

(Recipe courtesy of Flora Restaurant, Oakland, CA)


Prep time: 1 Hour

Cook time: 30 Minutes

Total time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • Chickpeas
  • 4 cups of dried chickpeas
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 small carrot halved
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Cold water to cover
  • 1 onion small diced
  • 1 carrot small diced
  • 2 celery ribs small diced
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 big handfuls of wild nettles or spinach

  • Candied delicata squash
  • 2 delicata squash (or any winter squash)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt to taste

  • Flatbread
  • .5oz. dried yeast
  • 3lb AP flour
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • ½ red onion small diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 ¾ cups of tepid water
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

  • Chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seed
  • ½ tablespoon of cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic pounded to a paste
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar


  1. Method for chickpeas
    Soak chickpeas overnight in water. Drain chickpeas and cover with cold water. Add halved yellow onion, halved carrot, celery rib, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a light simmer. Cook till tender then add salt to taste and add extra virgin olive oil. Remove and discard the onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a table spoon of oil and sauté the diced onion, celery and carrot till tender. Add to cooked chickpeas and stir in.
  2. Method for candied delicata
    Wash the delicata squash and cut vertically from end to end. Remove and discard seeds then slice horizontally into ¼ in. half moon slices. Heat sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. As the oil just begins to smoke, carefully add the squash to the pan and season with salt. Toss the squash in the pan to coat with the oil. Let the squash cook undisturbed for a few minutes to caramelize and develop color then toss so they cook evenly. When squash is tender and can be pierced with a knife with little resistance, about 5 to 10 minutes, add the brown sugar, butter, and chili flakes. Reduce the heat a little and toss the ingredients in the pan to coat and cook till sugar is bubbling and sticking to the squash, about 5 minutes. Be Careful not to burn the sugar. When squash is done pour out onto a sheet tray to cool.
  3. Method for flatbread
    Add yeast to water, stir and let bloom for 5 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients together with the yeast and water and mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook till a dough is formed. Continue to mix dough for 5 minutes. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm location to proof. When the dough has double in size, about 30 min to 1 hour punch it down with your hand. Transfer it to a baking dish that has been heavily oiled so the dough will not stick to dish. Cut off pieces of dough about 3oz. and on a heavily oiled surface flatten the dough with your hand until it has a diameter of about 6 to 8 in. You can grill this bread over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes, or cook in a cast iron pan for the same time. You can also bake in your oven at 400 degrees until crispy about 10 minutes. Slice into 8 wedges. Serve warm.
  4. Method for chili oil
    Combine all the spices in a sauté pan and toast over low heat, moving constantly till fragrant, about 2 to 4 minutes. Grind to a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Put ground spices in a small pot and add pounded garlic and extra virgin olive oil and steep over low heat till all the flavors have come together, about 10 minutes. Do not boil or spices will burn. Add the vinegar at the end and stir to combine.
  5. Assembling the dish
    Ladle chickpeas into a sauté pan along with its cooking liquid. Add some delicata squash and heat over medium-high flame till liquid is bubbling. Toss in the wild nettles and cook till they have wilted and the chickpea liquid is slightly reduced. Serve ragu in a warm bowl and drizzle with chili oil. Serve with warm flatbread. This is a great brunch dish with a poached egg.