It’s the basis of many a variant in Italy and I’ve decided to add it to our staples like this:
- 1 tin chickpeas drained, rinsed, peeled
- 1-2 tblesp tomato paste
- some shallots finely chopped
- fresh garlic finely chopped
- small pasta shapes
- anchovies mashed
- salt and pepper
Optional additions as you please….
- spring onion
- parmesan grated for serving
I started out frying shallots and garlic in ghee, adding chickpeas and then the water or stock if you prefer and lastly the tomato paste. Let all this simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes. This can sit in the fridge once it’s cool.
When you come to preparing the meal, boil the pasta but keep it underdone, drain, put back in the pot and add however much of the chickpea mixture you want as well as the mashed anchovies which will melt through. While this is reheating and the pasta is finishing its cooking chop herbs or other last minute accompaniments. Add and stir through. Serve.
For two people the first time I did this I added a small bunch of parsley, half a bunch of chives, the white of a spring onion and before serving sprinkled snipped spring onion greens on top. The second time I made the addition finely chopped spinach.
The possibilities are endless, one could add an Indian element by sprinkling garam masala on top. Fresh chillies would work well too.
It can be as soupy or stewy as you please. Part pureeing the chickpeas is an idea I have not explored yet but will obviously enhance a move from the one to the other.
This is cheap, healthy and tastes great. It is also quick and flexible – in Italy carrots and celery may be added, but I wanted something that wasn’t an echo of minestrone. You could also make in large quantity and freeze the first part of the recipe, the stock/chickpea/tomato paste combo.