Ottolenghi's Pasta w/ Chickpea, Spinach & Z'atar
Another winner from the cookbook Ottolenghi SIMPLE.
So far I have loved everything in this book, as you will see in the posts to come (the baked rice w/ cinnamon and tomatoes and the tonnato potato jackets).
Though the recipes in this book may seem anything but "simple" because the ingredients lists are lengthy, they really are "simple"....you most likely have everything in the house. And if you don't, you can certainly improvise.
For example: this recipe called for fresh thyme, which I had none of, so I used dried thyme.....if you don't have Z'atar (a Middle Eastern spice, has notes of oregano and lemon), then I suggest you go buy some. It will last a while, and it is really good in this recipe (hence the title).
Since I am not real red sauce lover, this was just what I was craving....and healthy-ish from the protein in the chickpeas, spinach and anchovies.
Pasta w/ Chickpeas, Spinach & Z'atar: (adapted from SIMPLE)
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp thyme leaves, finely chopped (you can use dried thyme)
7 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped (they disintegrate in the sauce)
1 lemon: finely shave the peel (and chop)
2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz. (half a box) gigli pasta (or conchiglie or orecchiette)
big handful baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp z’atar seasoning for the top
olive oil for drizzling
salt and black pepper
Put the olive oil into a large sauté pan and place on a high heat, add the onion, garlic, cumin, thyme, anchovies, chopped lemon peel, pinch of salt & pepper.
Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden. Reduce the heat to medium high, then add the chickpeas and sugar and fry for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas begin to brown and crisp up (they really never crisped up, but maybe yours will).
Add the chicken stock and lemon juice and simmer for 6 minutes, until the sauce has reduced slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can make this in advance, if you like, keep it covered until you cook the pasta. You can warm through before serving.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions. Drain and set aside.
Stir the spinach and parsley into the chickpeas. The residual heat of the sauce should cook the spinach, but if it doesn’t wilt, just warm the chickpeas gently on the stove.
Transfer the pasta to the pan of chickpeas and stir to combine. Divide among four bowls and sprinkle the z’atar on top. Finish with a drizzle of oil and serve.
Serves 3-4 people.