Happiness is…Penne with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Chickpeas

Last night really turned out to be the happiest of all anomalies for this household.  Gemma and I, per our routine, went to the gym, came home, got her jammies on, got my jammies on, poured a glass of Pinot Grigio, and set about putting the jammied monster to sleep.  I took a picture of her in her red footie jammies and sent it to Jake thinking that he wouldn’t be home for at least another hour or two.  I got a reply back not five minutes later that said:  On my way.  I swear to you that those are the most beautiful three words that can ever be texted…at least in this house.  Those three words mean so much, especially when they come at 8:15 on a Monday night.  They mean that Jake got to see Gemma before she went to bed (he left too early in the morning to see her), they mean that Jake got to be the one to put her to bed, and (most importantly) they mean that I did not have to prepare and eat dinner all by myself.

I know that I seem like a crazy person with my slow cooker sometimes, but I’m usually at the gym from 6-7:30pm, and by the time I get Gemma to bed it’s somewhere around 8:30pm.  How motivated are you to actually cook at 8:30pm when there is no one there to keep you from eating tater tots and peppermint patties and calling it a night?  Yeah…that’s what I thought.  Last night, though, I had planned on making the following recipe because it seemed to be neither time nor labor intensive (and it really isn’t).  I could have done just fine on my own, but it was really nice to have Jake hang out in the kitchen with me while I put it together and to sit down and eat with me when it was done.

Because Jake and I are not lumberjacks, I cut the pasta in this recipe by 2/3 but kept the amount of chickpeas the same.  Play with proportions that work for you…I’m just going to give you what worked for two relatively hungry (but not starving) people!

Penne with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Chickpeas

adapted from the How to Cook Everything app by Mark Bittman


*5 ounces penne (or other cut) pasta

*2-3 tablespoons olive oil

*4 cloves of garlic (grated or minced)

*1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

*1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

*Splash of white wine (optional)

To Make:

*Cook the pasta per package directions (I usually undercook mine by about 2 minutes since it will cook some more in the pan with the garlic and olive oil)

*While pasta is cooking, put the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a skillet or saucepan (large enough to have the pasta added to it) and cook over medium-low heat.

*Let the garlic get fragrant and golden.  This is a good time to add the white wine and make sure that the garlic doesn’t burn.

*Add the chickpeas to the garlic and oil mixture.  Cook until heated through (without burning the garlic).

*Reserve some of the cooking water from the pasta in case you need it to help coat the pasta.

*Add the pasta to the garlic/oil/chickpea mixture and incorporate thoroughly.  Add some of the cooking water (bit by bit) if it seems dry.  Top with parmesan cheese and more red pepper flakes if you like it HOT! 🙂

Survey Says:

This is a super easy and delicious dinner!  The chickpeas make it really filling on it’s own with no real need for a salad or bread.  Gemma was in bed, so she didn’t get to try any, but I know that she would LOVE it!  We both really enjoyed this, and I can tell that I will be making it OFTEN from now on!


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sam F on April 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Seems like it would be really good with some spinach or other greens added. I’ll try it and let you know!


  2. Definitely! We are in desperate need of a Trader Joe’s run so no greens to be had in our fridge! An arugula salad is never bad either!


  3. Yum! I see that this is adapted from a Mark Bittman cookbook. I love his stuff – so simple and healthy. I like his “Lessmeatarianism” mentality, and have his “Cook Like Food Matters” cookbook. And more importantly, I’m SO glad you were able to have dinner with your hubby last night!


  4. Posted by Betsy on April 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    We had this tonight for dinner. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing!


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