Whole-Wheat Pasta with Chickpeas and Lemon

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Whole-Wheat Pasta with Chickpeas and Lemon
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Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes

The thing is, when I don't know what's for dinner, I often put a large pot of water on to boil, and then I look in the cupboard and freezer to figure out what I can put over pasta. Chickpeas, which retain their shape without going mushy, are perfect for this--also because they are protein-rich and nutrient-laden, and because the sauce cooks in the time the pasta does.

What you'll need

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs*
  • 2/3 pound whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas with their liquid*
  • juice and grated zest of half a lemon (around 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon zest)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (half as much table salt) or more or less to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving
Helpful Tip:

Make bread crumbs from crumbling or processing a slice of white or wheat or French bread, preferably a bit stale. If the beans liquid doesn't seem tasty and nice, use 1 cup of chicken broth.

How to make it

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil while you prepare your other ingredients. Such as the fried breadcrumbs: melt one tablespoon of butter in a very small pan, and fry the breadcrumbs over medium heat until they are brown and crisp. Scrape them into a bowl when they're done, so they don't burn in the still-hot pan.

  2. Begin cooking the pasta and pop your bowls or plates in a 200-degree oven.

  3. Now heat the oil over low heat in a wide pan. Add the garlic, and stir it around a bit until it is fragrant but not coloring, then add the chickpeas and their liquid or broth. Turn the heat up a bit to simmer the chickpeas, and add the lemon juice and zest, the salt, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Let the chickpeas simmer gently while you drain the pasta, which should be cooked around now -- taste it and see, and save a cup of the cooking water, in case the sauce needs it. Butter all of the pasta with the remaining tablespoon of butter, then dump about 2/3 of it into the pan with the chickpeas. Stir it all together, add the parsley and parmesan, then stir it again. Now taste it: does it need a bit more liquid? (Add some broth or pasta cooking water.) More lemon or salt? It should be very tasty and saucy.

  5. Serve in the warmed bowls with parmesan and breadcrumbs for passing.

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