Friday, May 22, 2009

Chickpea pasta casserole

No preparation pictures tonight since I just threw together ingredients I had in the house for a quick dinner and didn't expect to post about it. Also this is pretty close to a recipe I wrote about back in November '07. But it was such a good result with so little time and effort involved, I figured I ought to share it. And it's different enough from that earlier post that it's worth calling a variation, anyway.

Ingredient amounts are going to be even rougher than usual here.

1 large handful ditalini or other small pasta (broken spaghetti shows up in a similar Mexican dish)
olive oil
1/4 pound Spanish chorizo, thickly sliced and then each slice halved
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
(an equal amount of green and/or red pepper would be a nice addition, but mine had gone fuzzy in the refrigerator)
1 handful broccoli rabe stalks with heads and flowers (I still have plenty of this left so I'm throwing it into everything until it all goes yellow.), chopped
1 large handful medium shrimp (I left them in their shells, but that meant I couldn't devein them so probably better to shell and clean them and add them later in the process
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
1 14 ounce can of chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 large pinch fresh thyme (or frozen in my case)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 large squeeze lemon juice

0. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

1. In medium saucepan, heat chorizo and olive oil over medium heat until chorizo has rendered a good bit of fat, but hasn't shriveled into little crunchy bits. Remove chorizo.

2. Add ditalini and plenty of salt to boiling water. Boil five minutes.

3. Add onion (and pepper) to pan with a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until softened. Add broccoli rabe and cook until wilted.

4. Add tomato to pan, stir briefly, add shrimp (if in shells), chickpeas with liquid, pasta, wine, paprikas, thyme and salt to taste. Stir well and simmer for around five minutes until shrimp and pasta are just cooked.

5. Finish with parsley and lemon juice. Let sit for a minute for parsley to cook slightly before serving.

Looking at it now, I'm not sure if casserole is quite the right term. Casseroles generally have a binder, don't they? But this isn't pasta and sauce either. It is half pasta, but the rest isn't particularly saucy. Whatever it is, it's pretty tasty. The little liquid there mixes the flavors of many of the components into a nice melange and, since there's plenty of starch, it sticks well to the components and brings the flavors together. The tomato has almost entirely collapsed, but the broccoli rabe and the ditalini are still firm. The suasage and shrimp have a little chew and the chickpeas are creamy, but not falling apart. So, a nice variety of textures. Overall, not bad at all for an improvisation.

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