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, it’s a tasty Italian/Indian fusion 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.
- 8 to 10 ounces pasta, any short chunky shape, preferably whole grain
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 to 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 a 28-ounce
can diced tomatoes when good, ripe ones are unavailable)
- 1 tablespoon good-quality curry powder, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach or arugula, or more, as desired
- 1/4 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.