A few months ago I started cooking with whole wheat pasta because I was working on family-friendly recipes for a charity cookbook. Whole wheat pastas are loaded with protein and fiber so it's a really easy way to help kids get more of both. I tried some whole wheat spaghetti for John and me one night. The preparation was simple -- just 10 shallots and cheese dressed it -- but from the first nutty-delicious bite I was hooked! The earthy, nutty flavor of chickpeas is a natural complement as well. Here I let a couple of dip-n-spread favorites inspire a hearty vegetarian sauce.
- 1 pound whole wheat penne
- 1/4 cup EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 cloves finely chopped or grated garlic
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Heat a large pot of water to a boil, salt water and cook pasta to al dente.
While water boils heat extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes then add the eggplant and chick peas and stir to coat. Season the chick peas and eggplant with cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cover with lid and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and continue to cook until eggplant has broken down, about another 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the pan and place into a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Add the vegetable stock and tahini paste and process until a sauce consistency. Add the sauce back to the saucepan and heat over low heat until ready to serve.
Add a ladle of starchy cooking liquid to the sauce, drain pasta and toss pasta with chickpea-eggplant sauce 1 minute then top with parsley and pine nuts. Place into a serving dish.