I’m back, healthy foodies, with the promised roasted tomato pasta recipe! Over the weekend I found a fun recipe in a magazine, then Erin saw a different one on TV, and we decided to combine the two to form one super-recipe.
We Americans have grown so accustomed to the pasta-with-grilled-chicken (or some other meat) dish that pasta without meat seems like only half a meal. And in Italy, it’s just that, since a (usually meatless) pasta course is often served before the meat course. But there’s something so wonderfully humble about that meatless pasta course made with just a few choice ingredients. It’s the difference between the simple, perfect Google homepage and Yahoo’s site, cluttered with useful stuff that nobody really needs. Less is often more. Especially if “less” is served with a glass of Chianti.
The problem with meatless pasta, of course, is that it’s often not filling enough, especially for marathon training. This was my big complaint about Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula. You can use Barilla Plus pasta to make it a little more substantial, but the difference is small. Instead, we added chickpeas to boost the protein and healthy calorie content. A lot of people think adding beans, potatoes, or anything else starchy to pasta is weird, but they do it in Italy all the time. Even in classics like Trenette with Pesto, Beans, and Potatoes. Try it; nothing will happen to you!
This meal is fantastic. Using fresh plum tomatoes and fresh lemon zest makes the sauce taste, well, really fresh. The tomatoes are roasted in the oven with garlic, Italian seasoning, and some crushed red pepper for just the perfect amount of hot damn! And the acidity of the tomatoes nicely balances the bitterness of the arugula, which we got fresh-picked from the first farmers’ market of the season (if you haven’t discovered the joy of the farmers’ market yet, use the Local Harvest link in my Blogroll to find one near you).
Erin and I unquestionably gave this meal 4 cows out of 5. A first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. That fact that it’s not a “5” is no knock on it; we just can’t be giving those out like Halloween candy. If a “5” is a meal two standard deviations better than the mean, and we assume meal quality is distributed normally with mean 3, then only about 2.5 percent should be getting a “5”! I can think of plenty of good arguments against my assumptions, like the fact that almost all the meals have been rated “3” or higher, so I’ll just stop. Here’s the recipe.
Roasted Tomato Pasta with Chickpeas Recipe
- 2 lb medium plum tomatoes
- 14.5-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 4 cups lightly packed arugula
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- zest of one lemon
- 10 ounces whole-wheat pasta, any shape
- sea salt and black pepper
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, spread out on a foil lined backing pan. Mix together the garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper, 1/4 cup of canola oil, and few pinches of salt and pepper; pour mixture evenly over tomatoes. Drizzle with another 1/4 cup of canola oil. Roast until soft and lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Crush half of the roasted tomatoes in a large bowl with a fork.
Boil the pasta water, salt until it tastes like seawater (this is what they do in Italy!), and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve a little pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed. While pasta is cooking, heat remaining tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat. Add chickpeas and arugula to the pan. Once chickpeas are heated through and arugula is wilted, add to the crushed tomato bowl with pasta and lemon zest; toss to mix. Add reserved pasta water as needed.
Divide pasta among 4 plates, top with remaining roasted tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Eat it up!