Pasta with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

You need only a salad and some crusty bread to accompany this hearty pasta dish that’s welcome all year around.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 10 to 12 ounces rotini, rotelle, or cavatappi (spiral pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed, well rinsed,
    and chopped (baby spinach leaves can be used whole)
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes, oil-cured or not, as desired
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
  • Sliced fresh basil leaves or minced fresh parsley for topping
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts, optional

Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water according to package directions until al dente, then drain. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and bell pepper and sauté over medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden and the bell pepper is slightly wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, and oregano. Stir together and simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes.

Combine the mixture from the skillet with the pasta and toss together. Season with salt, pepper, and the optional red pepper flakes. Toss again, sprinkle with the fresh herbs and optional nuts, and serve.

Variation: Use chard in place of spinach. A very small amount of water and 2 to 3 minutes of additional cooking time will ensure that the chard is cooked until just tender.


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