Pasta and veggie combos are always welcome, no matter what time of year. Though not a traditional combination, I long ago discovered that pasta marries well with curry. With the addition of cauliflower and chickpeas, this recipe makes a tasty Italian-Indian fusion dish that's ready in 30 minutes or so. Use a whole-grain or even a gluten-free pasta. This tastes just as good at room temperature as it does warm (or even hot!). Serve with fresh corn during the summer; or any green vegetable for cooler weather meals. Add a big salad and you're all set. Photos by Evan Atlas.
Pasta Curry with Cauliflower and Chickpeas
- 8–10 oz pasta, any short chunky shape, preferably whole grain
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2–4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into short, narrow strips
- 4 heaping cups bite-sized cauliflower florets and stems
- 2 pounds diced ripe tomatoes (substitute one 28 oz can diced tomatoes when good, ripe ones are unavailable)
- 1 tbsp good-quality curry powder, more or less to taste
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 (15–16 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup dark raisins
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach or arugula, or more, as desired
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, optional
- salt, to taste
- dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste
- Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden.
- Add the cauliflower, bell pepper, tomatoes, curry powder, and basil. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook gently for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is just tender. Add the chickpeas and raisins and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Add the spinach or arugula, cover, and cook just until wilted down.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the cauliflower mixture. Stir in the optional cilantro or parsley, then season with salt and red pepper flakes. Serve at once.
Variation: Use broccoli in place of cauliflower, or half of each.