Spaghetti with Chickpeas (November 10, 2010)

In my pursuit of remaining unprocessed, I made this recipe. I made some modifications, as I will note. It was good. I really liked it, although I would add some additional pepper flakes and a few less chickpeas. I cooked chickpeas today from dried peas.

15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas (I made them from the unprocessed blog, see below.)
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces) (I used bacon – because I didn’t have any pancetta.)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped (I roasted my own tomatoes, instead of canned tomatoes.)
10 to 15 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

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 olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned; a splatter screen will make your stove look better than mine did after this. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let 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, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. 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. (I did have to use the extra water from the pasta, as the chickpea mixture was pretty dry.)

Cooking chickpeas: I soaked the peas for several hours. After soaking, I put the peas in water with a stalk of celery, bay leaf, garlic, half an onion, and dried rosemary, thyme, and cilantro. After the peas come to a boil, reduce the temperature to simmer and cook for about an hour and a half. I put a bunch in jars and put it in the freezer, and I used some for the dish.

Roasting tomatoes: I learned this from Rick Bayless. I put four medium sized tomatoes in the oven under the broiler. I cooked them for about 5 minutes, took them out of the oven and put a towel over for about 5 minutes. Then I peeled the skin off and chopped them. I added them to the recipe as directed.

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