Despite the bounty of the farmers markets, farm stands and gourmet grocery stores, there are times when you look in the refrigerator and think to yourself that there is nothing to make for dinner. So it’s a good idea to have some standby pantry staple recipes that are quick, easy and delicious.
My definition of a pantry meal is that it has to be made from ingredients that are shelf stable and always in my pantry. Pasta meals are the perfect solution. You can always jazz up pasta with some fresh ingredients or something you’ve defrosted from your freezer. Or serve it with a fresh salad. But at least you know that in a pinch, if you have some pasta and a few pantry ingredients, you and your family will not go hungry.
This dish of Pasta with Chickpeas and Artichokes is one of my favorite go-to pasta meals. It is inspired by Victoria Granof’s recipe for Pasta con Ceci from her book Chickpeas. I love her one-pot method and customized it to accommodate my tried-and-true pantry ingredients.
The beauty of this method is that you can do everything—including the pasta—in one large sauté pan. I like to use my Hestan 3.5-quart copper sauté pan. It has a wider bottom than my traditional copper sauté pan, so you have more surface area, which which I like. And it’s a little lighter, so it’s easier to pick up. If I was stuck on a deserted island and allowed only one pan, this would surely be it. I use it constantly.
For this recipe you’ll need: pasta, a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), artichoke hearts (in a can or marinated in a jar), sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, salt and pepper. Optional (but highly recommended) are the pine nuts or almonds, and the kalamata olives. Relatively few ingredients, yet they combine to make a delicious meal.
The other huge advantage to this recipe is the fact that it doesn’t make a huge mess in your kitchen, and there is just one pan to clean. You might just find yourself making it even when there is plenty in your refrigerator for dinner.
Pasta with Chickpeas and Artichokes
- 1 Large Skillet ideally a 3.5 qt sauté pan
- Pine nuts or blanched slivered almonds, optional, but they are a great touch
- Olive oil
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Some finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes with their oil, about a tablespoon
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and more later to taste if needed
- 15- ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 14- ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
- A couple tablespoons or a handful of pitted kalamata olives, whole or cut in half, optional
- 6 ounces pasta, a small shape such as orecchiette, ditalini or macaroni
- 2 cups hot or boiling water
- Salt and pepper
- Add a small handful of pine nuts (or almonds) to a large skillet or large shallow Dutch oven over medium heat and stir until just lightly toasted. Remove and set aside.
- Add a generous amount of olive oil to the skillet (about 4 tablespoons) over medium heat and add a pinch of red pepper flakes and the garlic, cooking it until the garlic becomes golden. Add the sun-dried tomatoes with their oil and the tomato paste and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Then add the chickpeas, olives, artichoke hearts, pasta and hot water, stirring to combine all the ingredients and scraping any browned areas of the skillet.
- Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and it should be a nice saucy consistency. If the liquid is almost completely absorbed before 15 minutes, cover the skillet for the last few minutes. If it is too soupy, cook uncovered slightly longer to thicken it.
- Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately topped with a drizzle of olive oil and the toasted pine nuts or almonds, if you are using them.