Thursday, April 30, 2015

Penne with tomato and chickpea sauce - simple, honest food

Penne with tomato and chickpea sauce / Penne com molho de tomate e grão de bico

Because I like to try new recipes and new dishes I look for inspiration everywhere, even in cuisines I would never adopt as a way of life, such as vegan, for instance: I understand that there are great vegan recipes out there and I have made some myself, but I don’t intend to spend my life without milk, eggs, honey, butter or cheese – it’s just not who I am.

Having said that, I got curious when I read a recipe on Andrew Carmellini’s beautiful Urban Italian for a dish pasta that was rich without having loads of butter and cream – yes, I won’t give up on cream, that is for sure, but that doesn’t mean I have to eat it every single day. I am a sucker for pasta dishes, so I gave it a go and it turned out delicious: the chickpea puree thickens the tomato sauce in a lovely way, making it velvety, and the bacon (that I used instead of the sausages called for in the original recipe) adds a nice, salty touch.

This is simple, no fuss, honest food that I am eager to eat on a daily basis – I could not expect less from the guy responsible for the best gnocchi.

Penne with tomato and chickpea sauce
adapted from the delicious Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food

1 can (420g/15oz) chickpeas
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 bacon rashers, finely sliced
3 cups your favorite tomato sauce – mine is here
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
400g penne
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated pecorino cheese

Drain the chickpeas well, reserving the liquid. Blend half the chickpeas (about 1 cup) and half their liquid on high until the mixture forms a smooth paste, about 1 minute.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the chickpea puree and the fennel seeds and stir to combine. Season to taste, then cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the mixture forms a loose sauce and the flavors are combined, about 15 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes and the remaining chickpeas and remove from the heat.

Cook the penne in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain but do not rinse the pasta.
Return the rigatoni to the pot. Add the sauce and cook on medium-high heat, mixing well, until the pasta is well coated, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter, olive oil and half the pecorino cheese. Transfer the pasta and sauce to a large serving dish and top with the rest of the pecorino cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4

1 comment:

mividaenundulce said...

Something that used to happen with simple paste recipes is what yo say, cream is a must, and sometimes we need something not so heavy. This proposal is great, I never used cichpeas with pasta, but sounds good!!

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