Pasta combined with greens and beans is a classic combo, and this one featuring spinach and chickpeas, embellished with sun-dried tomatoes, is a tasty take on this trio. You need only a salad and some crusty bread to accompany this hearty pasta dish that's welcome all year around. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
Pasta with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 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
- ½ 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.