By Sam Johnson, Deputy Director of Cullinary | 1776
Although this is not one of my own recipes, it is one that I love. This is an excellent hearty vegetarian meal full of flavor and great for those fall, chilly evenings in Keswick – a quick meal for friends with some great wine. It is now that time of year when all things are filled with boldness and spice.
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
- Black pepper
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach (about 6 packed cups)
- 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high.
- In a wide, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the chickpeas, rosemary and Aleppo pepper, if using. Season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas start to caramelize at their edges and pop, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the chickpeas to a bowl. Reserve for garnish.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots and garlic to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the pasta until a couple minutes short of al dente according to package instructions, about 5 minutes. Do not drain the pasta, but using tongs, transfer the pasta directly from the pot to the spinach and cream sauce. Add 1 cup pasta cooking water and the Parmesan, and cook over medium-high, stirring vigorously with the tongs, until the sauce is thickened and the noodles are al dente, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water to loosen sauce, if needed.
- Transfer to bowls, and top with reserved chickpeas, rosemary and black pepper. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.