Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli, Chickpeas, and Garlic

Whole wheat pasta and canned beans are two things I always have in the pantry. They're healthy and filling and offer myriad possibilities for delicious meals, customizable to nearly any taste. With just some vegetables and a punch of flavor from garlic and spices you can easily create a quick and satisfying dinner that holds up pretty well for lunch the following day. Reconstituted dried beans and fresh vegetables make this kind of meal the best it can be, but frozen vegetables and canned beans make this dish incredibly quick and simple to prepare. Hearty beans pair perfectly with fresh and crunchy broccoli, lightly coated in a simple, flavorful sauce of olive oil and garlic with a subtle kick of red pepper. Broccoli and chickpeas make a wonderful pair, but cannellini beans and spinach would also be great choices. As much as I'd like to prepare gourmet meals every night, I don't always have the time or energy, so quick and healthy, but still tasty meals like this one are staples of my culinary repetoire.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli, Chickpeas, and Garlic
from Gourmet, via Epicurious
makes 4-main course servings

6 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli (not thawed)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti

1. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add broccoli and salt and cook, breaking up frozen chunks and stirring occasionally, until broccoli is thawed and crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and cook until heated through.

2. Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta and reserved cooking water to broccoli and chickpeas in skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until combined well. Serve drizzled with additional olive oil.

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