I still remember when my dad first saw an idea for this recipe from Mario Batali on the Food Network many years ago. He always gets so excited about new recipes, especially pasta–must be where I get it from! I have been in love with this dish ever since he first made his much more exciting version of it, and have adapted it into my own over the years. It is a great comforting hearty dish for a winter day, one where you are cheating and eating pasta of course. I think this sauce could also be could with quinoa or even zucchini ‘pasta’ if you wanted to try to make a lower carb version. I had some organic rotini in the pantry so I used that, but I think the texture of the sauce goes best with mini rigatoni.
Pasta with Chickpea Puree (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)
- 8 oz. organic mini rigatoni or other pasta shape
- 4 Tbsp. cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow or red onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 ribs organic celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 organic carrot, grated or finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2-1 c. reserved pasta water or organic chicken broth
- 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Put a large pot of salted water up to boil. Cook pasta according to box directions, reserving one cup of cooking water (if using). When al dente, remove the pasta to a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking process–there’s nothing worse than overcooked pasta!
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, celery, and carrot, and saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, chickpeas, and red pepper flakes and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. While blender or food processor is still running, add the cooking water or chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is smooth but still thick. Drizzle in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta and sauce to the skillet and stir until heated through, adding more pasta water or broth as needed to achieve the preferred texture. I like my sauce to be thin enough to coat the pasta, but still thick enough to be creamy and hearty. Serve with a generous heap of parmesan cheese and a light drizzle of high quality finishing olive oil (I love their McEvoy Ranch Organic Olive Oil that my brother got me at Whole Foods).