What does Annalena mean by "a prepared cook?" Well, in this instance, she is writing of something so easy, yet so difficult: planning your ingredients, or as is more traditional "stocking the pantry." Now, for those of us who grew up with the idea that the "pantry" was where you kept things like rice, flour, sugar, etc, this is no big deal: these "staples" kept. Today, the "pantry" has been expanded to include fresh food: things that can spoil. And this is where we have our problems, ragazzi. Let us have a show of hands: how many of you have had thoughts along the lines of "Oh, I meant to cook it, but I forgot it was there," before you throw away the broccoli that has gone to compost in your fridge, or the unidentified package of something, that smells, and so forth? Annalena is guilty of this, and tries, to some extent , to avoid it So she keeps things in her fridge that she knows she and the Guyman will always eat. Or that she can cook into "something." Chickpeas are one of those things. You can put them in your pantry in canned form, but the fresh cooked ones are better. They really are. So Annalena cooks chickpeas every week. If she doesn't use them, she freezes them. Or, she finds a new use for them. Such is this pasta. And as with many of Annalena's dishes, we are going to discus ways along the path of making this good, satisfying plate of food, that push us to vegan. And if you are gluten free, use a gluten free pasta. Let's begin.
You don't need Annalena to teach you how to cook chickpeas (do you?). So we start with 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, stored under their cooking liquid
Annalena has drained the liquid from the chickpeas. We'll come back to that. So you have those legumes: put them in a bowl, and do a rough mash: break up half of them or so, but not all:
When chickpeas break up, they give off a starch. You can see a little of this here. We're going to exploit this later on.
Now, because chickpeas are sort of bland tasting, we need our "aromatics." We have garlic, onions, and rosemary here:
You can vary the quantity of rosemary, but stick to four smashed cloves of garlic, and a small onion, of any color, chopped roughly. Next:
Anyone wanna guess how much olive oil that is? It's 1/4 cup: four tablepoons. Let that warm up, an then, put in the garlic. Cook it until it gets a nice golden brown:
All you are doing here is flavoring your oil, so after they're browned, scoop them out, and add the onions and the rosemary. Cook this until you see the onion soften:
While this is happening, your home will redole with the smell of the rosemary. It's a good thing. Now, we add the chickpea mash, AND... remember we separated out that liquid?
We're going to use 2-3 cups of this. If by some chance you did not follow Annalena, and used canned chickpeas, VERGOGNA (look it up), but use either water, or stock of some kind instead. You add the chickpeas and the liquid to the onion/rosemary mix:
Raise the heat and boil this down until the liquid is gone.
And now, you will see this is a dry sauce, and it will stay so. Chickpeas and their starch pick up liquid as they sit. For now, add a tablespoon of butter ( which takes us out of vegan land), or olive oil ( which does not), and also grate the peel of half a lemon into this.
You can let this sit for several hours, but know you will be adding pasta water to this. If you have no problem , then you're good.
When you are ready to cook, boil up about half a pound of pasta. If you are a vegan, you know to read the label to make sure that the pasta does not contain eggs. Many of the dry pastas do not. If you are gluten intolerant, you know to make sure that there is no gluten in that pasta. And you all know how to cook pasta. As a general rule: take the time on the label and knock off two minutes, for dry pasta. For fresh, do what they say.
For this dish, use a short, shape rather than a long thin one.
If your pasta sauce is dry, add a spoon or two (or three) of the water from the pasta as it cooks. Then, toss the cooked pasta into the sauce, turn it to distribute well and, if you are NOT going vegan, sprinkle the dish with parmesan cheese. If you ARE going vegan, Annalena suggests a good slug of peppery olive oil, and maybe some chopped parsley:
Annalena made her sauce at about 3pm, and made the pasta at 11. So this can be done. And you should make this, even if you're only cooking for you. You can save the remnants of sauce and use them for somethng else. And you can feel very good about yourself for making something tasty, economical, and low on the food chain. - something we will not be doing in the recipes to follow.
More to come ragazzi. For now, go make lunch