A fun meal as winter gives way to spring
During the last weeks of winter, when decent seasonal produce becomes increasingly scarce and slushy, miserable weather keeps us stuck inside, we all still wrestle with one age-old question: What should we make for dinner? Donít stress — easy pantry pasta is quick, simple, forgiving and lets us flex our creative muscles for an affordable and fun meal. And most ingredients keep well in the pantry or are available year-round at most grocery stores. This recipe creates a salty, cheesy, bright and filling meal in no time, and can be adapted to feed yourself or a crowd.
1 box dried pasta (large tube-shaped works best)
1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
1 bunch fresh rosemary (dried also works)
4-5 tablespoons butter
1 medium-sized lemon
Preferred cooking oil or fat
About one cup dry white wine or white wine vinegar and water
Parmesan or other hard aged cheese, grated (half a cup or so, depending on your preference)
Salt and pepper to taste
5 minced pitted Kalamata or Castelvetrano olives
1 tablespoon capers
A few minutes ahead of time, start heating a pot of salted water for your pasta. Then, in a medium-sized saute pan over medium-high heat, bring about a tablespoon of cooking oil up to temperature until shimmering. Dump in the whole can of chickpeas and cook until the chickpeas take on some color, stirring every so often. Add a generous pinch of rosemary leaves, making sure to break in half to release flavor, and add salt and pepper. Continue cooking until fragrant, adding more oil or butter if needed. When chickpeas are hot and smelling great, dump in the small onion and cook until softened, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. With a wooden spoon, scrape any fond that may have collected on the bottom of your skillet, then dump in about half of the wine to de-glaze.
If your water is boiling, this is a good time to start cooking your pasta. While the pasta cooks, add the chopped kale to the skillet and a little more fresh rosemary. Add capers and olives if desired, as well. Cook in the wine until the kale is soft and cooked through, adding more wine or water as needed.
When the pasta is cooked al dente, scoop about half a cup of pasta water out and set aside, then drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Turn the heat up, add in around half of the reserved pasta water, a little more wine, a tablespoon or two of butter. Stir constantly while sprinkling grated cheese into the pan. This is where the magic happens — the pasta water will combine with the butter, wine and melting cheese to create a creamy, glossy sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce is your desired consistency, adding more liquid or cheese to your tastes. Thereís really no wrong way to do this!
Salt and pepper your pantry pasta before plating. Slice your lemon and spritz your pasta with fresh lemon juice to serve.