A TRUE pantry lunch: Chickpea lemon-y Pasta

What a privilege it is to go to the grocery store whenever you want. To pop in just for the one or two things you need to get to execute a recipe perfectly. To have the money to do so, as well!

In any case, it has been a creative puzzle to try to find adequate substitutes in my own kitchen and pantry for a meal, especially at the last dregs before you do have to make that one big grocery haul a week (or two).

As I was scrounging around my kitchen, I came upon one can of chickpeas and one lemon. I knew I had some dried pasta left (although I only had one serving of gemelli and one serving of rigatoni) and the last few stems of parsley that I was able to stretch out for three weeks.

Then, I remembered a Melissa Clark recipe that included all of these ingredients, and a wave of excitement rushed through me. We can make a very delicious, very easy lunch!

Yes, I had to substitute fresh rosemary for dried thyme and basil. Yes, I had a bowl with two different types of pasta shapes. But was it still very tasty? You bet!

Lemony Pasta With Chickpeas and Parsley adapted from Melissa Clark, via NYT Cooking

What you need (substitute, at your leisure):
  • 8 ounces "short and sturdy" pasta
  • 1 can chickpeas, or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I subbed with a mix of dried basil and thyme, measurement ?? Like a few good generous pinches each)
  •  Pinch of red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, water, or if you cooked chickpea, the cooking liquid (not the aquafaba)
  • 3 cups fresh parsley leaves (I used whatever I had left!) 
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Ground black pepper to taste
And not in the original recipe, but I added:
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • The juice from 1/2 lemon
  • A dash of soy sauce (or fish sauce, if you are not vegetarian) 
What you do:
  1. Prepare the chickpea sauce by dumping your chickpeas into a large bowl and use a potato masher or fork to lightly mash them; they should be about half-crushed.
  2. Prepare your pasta by bringing a pot to boil in heavily salted water. Cook your short pasta just shy of al dente (I did ~10 mins) because it will continue cooking in the chickpea sauce. Save the pasta water.
  3. While your water is boiling, heat a 12-inch skillet with the olive oil. Add garlic cloves and fry until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add onions, rosemary (or dried herbs, if that's what you have), red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally so you don't burn the onion, until your onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, stock, and a dash of soy sauce/fish sauce, and bring to a simmer and cook gently until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes on high, 8 minutes on medium-low (depending on where you are in your pasta timer).
  4. Stir in pasta, reserved pasta water, and chopped parsley and cook until the pasta has finished cooking and is coated in the sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. In one quick toss, add cheese, butter, lemon zest and juice, and black pepper to taste. Add salt if needed (although the soy/fish sauce should hopefully have done some magic here, too). Serve immediately with another sprinkling of grated cheese. 
And for those curious about an update on my basil (day 12!) and green onion (lost count because I already cut it once), here they are! 


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