I can’t find anything bad to say about this pantry meal. I made it one night accidentally, when I was craving a light pasta dish with maybe a little sundried tomato and some fresh artichoke, neither of which my local Associated Market had. It was getting late, and I didn’t feel up for walking much farther than a block. It had just begun to rain. So dismayed and with lowered expectations as I was, I wandered into my corner bodega and picked out one can and one jar from its shelves. (The very nice couple who own the store, and greet me as their neighbor, must be becoming accustomed to this habit of mine, roaming around their tiny aisles in indecision.) As luck would have it, a better fate had been planned for my dinner, because I ended up with a completely delicious and unexpectedly smoky dish in this chickpea and roasted red pepper combination.
Though I was using a dry chardonnay in its light sauce, if I didn’t have that on hand I would likely have given it a go with a little stock (chicken or vegetable) and a spray of lemon for some fresh tang that doesn’t come in a can. Either way, now I know I’ll never be left gastronomically unsatisfied in the midst of an apocalypse as long as there was a friendly bodega nearby.
I might add that though I had such a hard time finding sundried tomatoes, jars of roasted red peppers were so ubiquitous that they could be found in two separate aisles, from several different brands in my small grocery store, and as mentioned, in the corner bodega. I haven’t experimented with them enough to know what to really look for in a jar, so any suggestions are welcome.
the penne gets a colorful new coat
Chickpea & Roasted Red Pepper Penne
(makes 2 servings)
1/2 box of penne, cooked al dente
1/2 15.5 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2-3 roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped (jarred ones are fine, which I used, or you can roast and peel fresh peppers)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tb olive oil
1 Tb butter (or extra 1 Tb olive oil)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmesan for garnish
A few basil leaves or parsley for garnish (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil with shallot and garlic until it becomes fragrant. Add the chickpeas and roasted red peppers, season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir 2-3 minutes. Add wine and stir until bubbly. Turn heat to medium and let liquid reduce to about 1/2. Add penne and stir in additional tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle in parmesan and basil or parsley. Serve immediately.
(for 2 servings)
1/2 box penne (at $1.29/box): $0.65
1/2 15.5 oz can chickpeas (at $0.79/can): $0.40
1 shallot: $0.20
1 clove garlic: $0.03
3/4 cup white wine: about $1.30
3 Tb olive oil: $0.20
1/4 cup grated parmesan: $0.40
Salt, pepper, 2-3 basil leaves (from my plant): $0.05
Four brownie points. I watched Iron Chef America: Battle Chickpea a couple of days after making this dish and wondered, where in the hell did they get fresh chickpeas? So true as it is that canned and jarred foods aren’t as nutritious for you as fresh versions, the ingredients in this quick and convenience store-friendly dish are still virtuous. Chickpeas are a great source of protein low in calories, and roasted red peppers still hold their weight in vitamins C and A, as their color might suggest — albeit fresh ones would be much better for you. I barely used any salt in this recipe because one thing cans and jars do have a monstrous capacity to increase is an item’s sodium content.