Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pasta with Chickpeas, Bacon, and Spinach

This little recipe came to fruition when I looked through the cabinet and refrigerator contents. I noticed we had some chickpeas in the cabinet as well as some De Cecco orecchiette. I decided those two would fit together nicely since beans and pasta work well in light sauces. Now that the base of my dish was defined, I could decide what would fill in the cracks. The first consideration I had was the vegetable portion of the dish. I wanted something green. Baby spinach was eventually plucked from the bottom of my vegetable bin to fulfill my "green needs." Then to round out the flavors I decided to add a little fat and texture by adding chopped crispy bacon. (Just in case you didn't know... everything is better with bacon.)

Pasta with Chickpeas, Bacon, and Spinach:
1 pound orecchiette, or other pasta
3 to 4 handfuls baby spinach
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
4 to 5 slices bacon
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Parmesan cheese, grated or zested, (optional)
Salt, for boiling and finishing
Pepper, for finishing

1. Get a large pot of boiling water going while you prepare the rest of the food.
2. Open the can of chickpeas into a colander and then rinse the chickpeas under cold water.
3. Cook the bacon until crispy in a large skillet over medium high heat, then drain over paper towels and reserve for later. (Pour out all the grease from the pan but to not wash it out, we will use the leftover fat coating the pan to fry the chickpeas.)
4. Lightly fry the chickpeas in the leftover fat over medium heat, about 3 to 5 minutes, then reserve for later.
5. Add a tablespoon of butter to the same pan and wilt the spinach or until it shows a deep green color, about 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Cook the pasta in the water until al dente.
7. Just before the pasta is cooked, add another 2 tot 3 tablespoons of butter to the original pan to warm the bacon, spinach, and chickpeas.
8. Drain the pasta of water, then toss this with the bacon, spinach, and chickpeas.
9. Top with cheese and finish with salt and pepper.

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