A little chickpea magic

 30 Sep 2015 - 17:58

A little chickpea magic


By Joe Yonan

You know all those times I’ve written that a smart way to plan for a busy week is to make big pots of things like beans on the weekends, refrigerate or freeze them, and then use them during the week?

Well, here’s an excellent example of how efficiently your cooking can go when you’ve followed that advice.
Chickpeas, my favorite bean of all, are the key. Just about any vegetable can be turned into a pasta sauce, and even though we don’t typically think of combining beans and pasta (except, of course, in that great Italian soup pasta e fagioli), this is a pairing that can work particularly well. Once you cook the beans (or thaw them from frozen - or, okay, drain them from a can), you puree half with a little olive oil and leave the other half whole. Combined with garlic-infused oil and rosemary, they turn into an amazingly deep-flavoured, quick-cooking sauce.

The pasta of choice? Rigatoni, naturally: It’s just big enough for that sauce - plus some whole chickpeas - to slip inside, ensuring a taste of pasta and beans in every bite. A satisfying dinner just came together, seemingly out of nowhere.

Rigatoni With Garbanzo Bean Sauce
4 servings
Serve with dressed arugula or another crisp salad. Adapted from The Silver Spoon: Quick and Easy Italian Recipes (Phaidon, 2015).

1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) cooked or canned no-salt-added garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, lightly smashed
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces dried rigatoni
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)

Combine half of the garbanzo beans and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a food processor or blender; process to an emulsified puree.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until lightly browned, then discard the garlic.

Add the pureed garbanzo beans and the reserved whole garbanzo beans to the saucepan, sprinkle with the rosemary and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rigatoni and cook according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Transfer the rigatoni to a warm serving dish. Loosen the garbanzo bean sauce with the reserved pasta cooking water, if necessary, and pour over the pasta. Toss to incorporate.
Garnish with rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if using. Serve immediately.

Nutrition | Per serving: 430 calories, 12 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 910 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar