Pasta is on the rotation for dinner at our house about once a week. Most the time its some variation of Pasta Whatever (looking back at this post, it's one that I should update!), tonight it's going to be Mac and Cheese, sometimes it's premade Tortoni's from Trader Joes. Another thing that has been on the weekly rotation is a batch of beans cooked in the pressure cooker. Often its Beans and Greens with Sausage (pretty much follow this recipe, using unsoaked beans and cook for 20 - 22 minutes using the bean setting on the cooker), sometimes I just cook plain beans like black beans or chickpeas that go into other things, like tacos or queso's, salads, humous, etc. Looking for a way to use up some freshly cooked chickpeas, I discovered a new recipe that is getting made at least once a month. I found it on a google search (chickpea pasta) on a fun blog called It is 2020 and We Are Food Blogging, Baby, traced in back to a recipe on the New York times cooking app, and pretty much follow the recipe as far as ingredients, but change up a couple of things to make it easier.
A couple of things make this pasta different that my normal. One is adding chickpeas (which is an Italian tradition), but you also mash some of the chickpeas to thicken the sauce. You are also using parsley as a green, a whole bunch is used. Although I haven't tried it, I think this would be good with any green like spinach if you didn't have parsley on hand. The other things that give this pasta flavors that are different than my typical flavor palette is adding rosemary (which comes from one of the big bushes in my yard) and butter. Adding butter to make things better should not be a surprise, why have I never done this?
One change to the NYT's recipe is to use a potato masher to mash the beans in the skillet ... no need for another bowl! The other is to transfer the pasta directly from the pasta pot to the skillet using a large slotted spoon. This keeps from getting a colander dirty, plus I don't accidently forget to save some of the pasta water for the sauce at the end.
8 ounces penne other short, sturdy pasta
2 cups cooked chickpeas, home-cooked or canned
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
½ onion, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Pinch of red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
1 ½ cups chickpea cooking liquid (if canned, just use water)
3 cups fresh parsley leaves (from 1 large bunch)
⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon butter
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Ground black pepper to taste
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta, then immediately start the sauce.
For the sauce, heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic until just starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in onions, rosemary, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
When the water boils add the pasta.
Just after starting the pasta to cook, add the chickpeas to the onions, and use a potato masher to lightly mash them; they should be about half-crushed. Then add the cooking liquid or water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down or off if the pasta is not done yet.
When the pasta is slightly underdone, transfer the pasta to the sauce using a slotted spoon (alternately, save a cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta with a colander). Add parsley, and cook (turn the heat back up to medium if you turned it down) until the pasta has finished cooking and is coated in the sauce, 1 to 2 minutes, adding pasta water to get a nice sauce (typically I will add a 1/2 cup or so). Quickly toss in cheese, butter, lemon zest and black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Divide into bowls, and sprinkle with additional cheese to garnish.