A satisfying dish sure to be enjoyed by vegans and omnivores alike
This is a hearty, delicious dish that is amazing fresh out of the pan yet seems to taste even better the day after it’s prepared. In the Puglia region of southeast Italy, you’ll find many variations of this classic family favourite; many cooks there claim Orecchiette or ‘little ears’ are the ideal pasta shape into which the protein-packed chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) can nestle. Make it from scratch or speed things up with canned chickpeas and you can have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes from start to finish. Serve this with a green salad and crusty bread for a satisfying meal that everyone will enjoy. Note that it can be made with gluten-free pasta as well!
- 2/3 cup (155 mL) dried chickpeas *
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (.65 to 1.25 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon (125 mL) each sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups (750 mL) finely diced plum tomatoes (about 6 medium)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) red wine
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 2 cups (500 mL) uncooked short pasta (I like Orecchiette)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
- Grated Parmesan (or non-dairy cheese), to serve
* can substitute with one 15 oz (425 g) of low-sodium canned chickpeas and omit steps below to soak and cook chickpeas
- Put the dried chickpeas in a non-reactive bowl or container and cover by 2 inches (5 cm) with cold water. Let soak 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the soaked chickpeas then put into a medium pot with 2 cloves garlic (left whole) and 2 bay leaves. Cover by 2 inches (5 cm) with cold water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot and let cook for 1 ½ hours. Drain chickpeas, discarding garlic and bay. At this point, the cooked chickpeas can be refrigerated in a closed container for up to 2 days.
- To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 3 minutes, continuing to stir. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
- Add crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, cooked (or canned) chickpeas and cup of water to the pot. Stir, then let simmer 10 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed then turn off heat and cover pot until pasta is cooked. Note that the sauce can be refrigerated for up to two days and reheated just prior to adding the hot, cooked pasta.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, until just tender (al dente). Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add cooked pasta and the reserved cooking water, a few tablespoons at a time, to the pan of hot chickpea-tomato sauce, until desired consistency is achieved (you might not need all the reserved pasta water). Toss and transfer to warmed serving bowls; garnish with parsley and cheese.