This is a relatively quick cooking pasta dish, perfect for a weeknight meal. The bacon gives it a nice flavor, but it’s also pretty healthy with the mixture of beans and greens. I adjusted the recipe to use frozen instead of fresh spinach, and bacon instead of pancetta – because both of those are easier to get at any grocery store. It also called for pecorino cheese, which I don’t really like, so I used Parmesan instead. My friends know that I LOVE me some chickpeas/garbanzos/ceci whatever you want to call them! This dish is definitely a ‘keeper’ – leftovers were even good cold from the fridge, like a pasta salad.
Chickpeas, Spinach and Bacon Pasta
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 can chickpeas, drained
5 oz. chopped frozen spinach
6 oz. dried pasta (shells, macaroni, bowties)
Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta. In the meantime, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet, and brown the garlic slices for a couple of minutes. Then add bacon and saute for a few minutes to release the fat and brown slightly. Add pepper flakes and stir briefly, then add chickpeas and spinach. Stir and simmer for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then add 1/4 c. of the pasta water and simmer for a few minutes more. When the pasta is finished, drain it and add to the pan with the chickpea sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan or other favorite cheese. Serves 2.
Adapted from: Lidia’s Italy, by Lidia Bastianich