Pasta with Kale and Fried Chickpeas
This is a perfect dish to serve in mixed company. And by mixed company we mean when you’re serving a mix of people with various dietary restrictions. The base of this dish is vegan, though spicy chorizo makes for an excellent optional addition for omnivorous eaters. If you’re having gluten haters over, throw on some brown rice for them to substitute for the pasta – the dish still works brilliantly. Fried chickpeas and toasted breadcrumbs dress up the presentation and provide a highly satisfying crunch. Best of all you get all your food groups in one dish – carbs, vegetables, protein and a bit of healthy fat.
When frying up your chickpeas you may consider doubling the amount, so long as you can still fit them all in a single layer in your pan – they make for a great snack to satiate hungry bellies while you cook, as well as a brilliant salad topping. Unfortunately, however, they do not remain crisp the next day, so keep this in mind when determining how many to make.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale and Fried Chickpeas
Serves 4 people with mild appetites
1 pound kale, large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
3 tbs olive oil, divided
3 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta
1-2 tbs fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
Crispy Fried Chickpeas
4-5 tbs olive oil
1 can garbanzo beans
1.5 tsp smoked sweet paprika
6 ounces spanish style chorizo, diced (optional)
Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans. Dry them as thoroughly as possible, as any wetness going into the frying process will significantly decrease their crunchiness and make them sad, mushy, oily little things. I like to spread them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven with just the pilot light on, shaking the pan occasionally to dry them evenly on a very low heat.
In a skillet (preferably cast iron), add 4-5 tablespoons of oil and heat on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chick peas, paprika and salt to taste and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently or shaking the pan until they are nicely brown and crunchy about 25-30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, add a splash more olive oil, then breadcrumbs with a dash of paprika. Cook until golden brown, then turn off heat allowing the crumbs to remain in the pan until serving (they will continue to brown a bit so keep this in mind when judging their doneness as they cook).
Rinse and drain the Kale, then transfer to a bowl with some water still clinging.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat (I reccommend a cast iron dutch oven if you have one). Add your shallots and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, abou 4- 5 minutes. Add sliced garlic and salt to taste and cook until the shallots are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add several tablespoons of water, cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by the tablespoon if the bottom of the pot dries out, about 20 minutes. Once you’ve finished braising, sprinkle in a few teaspoons of lemon juice to taste.
While your chickpeas are frying and your kale braising, cook pasta in medium pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti to kale mixture in pot. Add 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid, an additional splash of olive oil and more lemon juice to taste; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Serve garnished with toasted breadcrumbs, fried chickpeas and chorizo if desired. We also pass extra olive oil and lemon juice around the table.