I think every shop I went into sold the pasta to make this over Christmas and I wandered why they were so popular. Thanks to a Catalan friend, she shared a link to a recipe for the veggie version.
2 onions (cut thin)
2 strips of celery
¼ white cabbage or cabbage (all chopped)
2 strips of kombu seaweed
1 cup of cooked chickpeas
big pasta ( “galets” which are like macaroni but giant)
herbs to taste
oil, fresh parsley.
Meatballs ( “Pilotas”):
2 cups bread crumbs
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 cup parsley (chopped fine)
gauze to cover
In a large saucepan: Place the onions, a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt – Fry for 10 minutes
Add the rest of the vegetables, kombu seaweed, herbs and water that completely cover the volume of vegetables. Bring to a boil.
To make the typical “pilota” (large meatballs): Mix all the ingredients well in a container until forming a compact mass. If necessary, add a little flour or water, depending on what is needed. Then it is wrapped gently in the gauze, but tightly tightened and tied with string at both ends.
Carefully immerse the “pilota” in the broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly before removing the gauze and cut into pieces. Strain the vegetables from the stock, reserve. Add the chickpeas, the “galets” (pasta) and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Serve each diner a piece of pilote and pour over the broth with the chickpeas and pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley.
If the seaweed is well cooked, you can cut very finely and accompany the dish. Cooked vegetables can also be served separately or reserved for a cream.