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Pasta with chickpeas

January 3, 2011

I could use a lot of words to describe 2010.  Since I like to keep my blog family friendly (most of the time), I’ll just round it up and say 2010 was a toughie.  Maybe we’ll recap the fine detail of roller coaster ride another time.

Let’s rewind a bit to 2009 – the year I started running.  At the end of 2009, I made the commitment to run the Nashville Marathon on April 25th, 2010.

I got the medal.  But I have no idea where it is now.  It’s basically a paper weight.  Why?  A tornado watch shut down the course when I was nearly 23 miles into my race. Before I knew it, the course had been barricaded and I was at the finish line (having unknowingly been diverted) way too early.  After running through rain so heavy it splashed back up at me from the pavement and giving this race my all for over three hours, I was heartbroken.  And then I became just angry as I watched half marathon walkers finish their race in more time than it would have taken me to complete my 26.2 (hey! If I have to stop then everyone should have to stop!).

In late 2010, I received a medal I was proud to wear.  I completed Charlotte’s ThunderRoad marathon on December 11th.  That means that I was training for a marathon for 8 months out of 2010.  Definitely the “year of the marathon.”

(mile 24.5, thanks Jen, for taking this picture!)

On December 10th, the night before my 2nd marathon of the year, I remember reaching out to my tweeple for suggestions about my pre-race meal.  In reality, that is stupid, because at just 12 hours prior to the run, carb loading is silly, and trying new foods is even sillier.  Bridget suggested spaghetti with chickpeas, a meal claimed to have super marathon inducing power by SmittenKitchen. Unfortunately I had used all my chick peas on my gingery chickpea stew the night before and ended up settling on a giant Greek salad.

I finally made this meal last night, about three weeks after the marathon.  The Omnivore was spending time here on the Farm and I was excited about making him dinner.  Monday through Friday the poor ‘Vore complains about missing my cooking, fending for himself, and relying on unhealthy substitutes.  What’s worse is that he’s started to slip into his Omnivorian habits of meat, meat, meat at every meal.

And would you believe the Omnivore wanted to just go out to eat instead of participate in what I had planned?  He had forgotten how delicious healthy foods can be.  The fact that meat should just an accent had slipped his mind.  And the idea of vegetarian cooking just wasn’t on his radar.

Somehow I convinced him that eating at home was the way to go and boy did he thank me.  And thank me.  And thank me.  He and I both adored this meal.  The flavor was great, the consistency of the sauce perfect, and yes, it would have been a lovely pre-marathon meal.  I’ll definitely plan to whip this up before my marathon in 2011.

This dish was submitted to PrestoPastaNights.  Check it out for a ton of pasta ideas!

One Year Ago: African Pineapple Peanut Stew (my favorite meal!)

Spaghetti con ceci (adapted from a recipe seen on SK, adapted from Michael White)
15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup stock
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
1 T dried basil
3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped into ribbons
Salt to taste
6 ounces penne pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest.

Place pasta on serving dishes.  Add spinach to sauce and thin to desired consistency using reserved pasta water.  Place over pasta and serve with grated Parmesan to pass.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2011 1:09 pm

    I would never have thought to pair chickpeas with pasta, but they’re not really so different than white beans.

  2. January 4, 2011 1:11 pm

    i love chickpeas and am always looking for new chickpea recipes! great idea 🙂

  3. January 4, 2011 4:49 pm

    I seriously cannot believe that you marathon trained for eight months of the year. Congratulations again on getting the marathon finish you deserved.

    This pasta recipe looks awesome! Love the addition of the beans – great protein punch. This looks like the perfect thing to fuel for a race or long run.

    And marathon in 2011!? When and where!?

  4. January 6, 2011 11:11 am

    Sorry 2010 was tough, but I’m sure 2011 will be awesome… especially with recipes like this one. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  5. January 7, 2011 11:49 am

    Love chickpeas. This looks great.

  6. January 11, 2011 10:33 pm

    Congrats on your marathon – very inspiring!! My hubby is the same way, and always asks where the meat is, unless it’s a chickpea dish actually! Especially if it has an Indian twist. This looks like a healthy and tasty meal 🙂

  7. January 26, 2011 10:59 pm

    Congratulations on your marathons. Does that mean that your time qualified for Boston on the first try? In anycase the meals looks great.

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