Monday, December 6, 2010

Spaghetti & Chickpeas

My dad loves chickpeas. Really. He eats them on salads, by themselves and even sauteed with green beans. They're one of his favorite foods. So naturally, any recipe that features chickpeas gets an automatic turn at the dinner table. This one was no exception. I never would have considered mixing spaghetti and chickpeas together, but Smitten Kitchen did, and we loved it. I liked the idea of the chickpeas adding some extra protein to a pasta dinner without adding the extra calories of meatballs.

15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
10 to 15 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Get Cookin'

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add EVOO and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes; cook until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest.

Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan to pass.

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