Pasta with Chickpeas, Lemon & Parsley
This is adapted from a recipe I saw in an issue of Milk Street magazine. While the original recipe was what caught my eye, as I made it and tasted I found the need to kick things up one more notch. The result was pleasing to my palate, and Hubbie gave it a thumbs up and emptied his plate, so I thought it deserved saving for posterity.
Make sure you read the directions before getting ready to make this dish – it is quick to make, but involves cooking some of the pasta in oil, and some with liquid. Be prepared for a few different steps.
serves 3-4 people for dinner
1/4 cup olive oil
9 oz / 250 g fettucine or other wide pasta (fresh or dried)
1 – 15-1/2 / 341 g can of chickpeas (*save the liquid – you need 3/4 cup for cooking the pasta)
2-1/2 cups water
3 bay leaves
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 wedge of preserved lemon (substitute the other half lemon’s zest and juice if you don’t have preserved lemons on hand)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley, chopped (flat or curly leaf will work)
1 pint / 285 g grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon EACH cumin and coriander seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-2 to 1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes, to taste
sea salt & pepper
Note: If using fresh pasta, you can use it as is. If using dry, you need to blanche the first half and then cook the other half a bit longer.
Chop parsley roughly, and cut tomatoes in half. Combine in a medium bowl with lemon zest and juice, and preserved lemon cut in small pieces. Set aside.
For dried pasta, cook half of the package about half the usual time, just until it starts to soften. Save 1 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta, rinsing it with cold water. Shake off the excess water, then set pasta on paper towels or tea towel to dry further.
In a large pot over medium, combine oil and blanched/first half of pasta. Stir occasionally, watching for pasta to brown and crisp (this takes about 10 minutes). Once browned, use tongs or a slotted spoon to set pasta aside in a bowl.
Add chickpeas and bay leaves to the oil remaining in the pot (add in a tablespoon or two more if needed.) Stir quickly, then add cumin, coriander and oregano. Stir again, cooking just until spices are fragrant and bay leaves are toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
*At this point, make sure you have pasta bowls warming for serving.
To the pot, add 2-1/2 cups water along with 3/4 cup chickpea liquid and 1 cup pasta water; then drop in second half of pasta. Bring this to a good simmer (medium or medium high heat, depending on your cooktop). If using dried pasta, cover for 2 minutes (if using fresh it will cook faster so you can skip this step). Stir and season with salt and pepper. If you like, add more cumin and/or coriander at this time as well.
Once pasta is starting to soften, add the browned pasta and stir well. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and stir, letting all the pasta get to al dente (about another 3-4 minutes).
Remove pot from cooktop and stir in lemon, tomatoes and parsley. Season with Aleppo flakes and more salt and/or pepper if desired.
Serve immediately. If you’d like wine with dinner, a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc works perfectly.