Here I was thinking, wow what a great vegetarian meal we just had. Then the hubs had to rain on my parade and remind me that I started the recipe by rendering the fat out of pancetta and then continued to eat the pancetta in with the recipe. D'oh! Well, my intentions were good.... le sigh.
This was a wonderful recipe - and when the hubs enjoys a recipe sans meat and asks for it again, well it MUST be AWESOME!!!
This recipe was really easy to make, had a great range of flavors and textures, and was really feeling. Made a great leftover too - so great, that we fought over who would get to eat them. Yeah, seriously, it was that good! It's not a really saucy pasta, it just coats the noodles - so if you like more sauce, double the sauce recipe.
Spaghetti with Chickpeas [Spaghetti con Ceci]
From Michael White, via New York Magazine, via Smitten Kitchen
15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
2-3 tsp. dried basil
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.
Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper - mine didn't need any added salt, but I did add some cracked black pepper. While sauce is cooking, cook your spaghetti, until al dente - don't over cook your pasta you don't want is mushy for this recipe. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. I ended up adding about half of the water. Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan.