It’s a weeknight and I’m heading home from work. I’m on the bus when Jacob calls me and wants to go out . . . but I want to eat first, so I tell him to come to show up at my house when he’s ready and I’ll find something quick to eat.
Quick . . . quick . . . what’s delicious, nutritious, and quick?
Whole wheat pasta? Always. But what should I put on top of it? I don’t have any jars of sauce, so I’ll have to get creative. Lucky for me, I’m good at that.
I walked into my kitchen with my cat circling my ankles. He wanted attention, I wanted to eat more than he wanted attention, I think.
I opened the cupboard and took stock of what was up there. A can of diced tomatoes, a can of chickpeas, some tomato paste, onions, garlic; there was wine on the bar, half a red pepper in the fridge that needed to be used up and all the requisite spices in the spice cabinet. Suddenly, dinner seemed like a plan.
Quick Chickpea and Tomato Pasta
•2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
•1 Onion, Chopped
•3 Cloves Garlic, Finely chopped
•1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
•1 15 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes with Liquid
•1/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon or other Dry Red Wine (I’m partial to a good Cab.)
•1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
•1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
•1-2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (you can get away without it)
•A Pinch of Sugar
•1 15 Ounce Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
•Whole wheat pasta cooked and still hot, whatever shape you like
•Salt and Pepper to taste
Get your water boiling for your pasta, first of all. When that’s boiling, throw it in and it ought to be done by the time you’re finished cooking the sauce.
Now then . . . In a large skillet (I used a 1o inch), saute the onions and garlic over medium heat. Add some salt and pepper to season and help the onions expel some water. Once the onions and garlic are fully sauteed and starting to brown just a little, add in your red pepper.
Cook until the red pepper is softened. Add tomatoes, wine, oregano, and basil.
Stir it all up and bring it to a boil. Add in the tomato paste, add more if you want your sauce a little thicker, less if you want it thinner (obviously). You can skip the paste if you want your sauce thin or if you don’t mind simmering the sauce a bit longer. Add in the pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and let the sauce simmer for about five minutes. Add in the chickpeas and simmer for another five to ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Jacob showed up at that point and mentioned that my house smelled garlicky . . . then he asked to taste my concoction. He always likes my food. The wine is really what makes this sauce. If you don’t have any or don’t keep it around the house, you can use water or veggie broth, but it won’t have the fullness of flavor that red wine provides.