Jen here. By request, I’m bringing you the recipe for Shells with Broccoli and Chickpeas. I reviewed it here. I don’t have any photos, so you’ll just have to imagine bright green slightly cooked broccoli, diced tomatoes and yummy chickpeas (also known as garbonzo beans – these are the same beans used to make hummus and falafel). This is from 1,000 Lowfat Recipes by Terry Blonder Golson. I’m typing the recipe as written in the book. [From my notes at the top of the page: 01-06-09 Good – don’t forget the *pasta water for the sauce. Pasta water is often used as a sauce thickener. It’s full of good starch from the boiled pasta. All recipes are flexible, not strict science experiments. I note any changes I made in brackets, like this.]
Shells with Broccoli and Chickpeas
Red onion is used here for its milder flavor and attracive color. Sometimes paying attention to these seeminly small details makes a world of difference to a recipe. page 2903 cups broccoli florets, lightly steamed or blanched 1/2 pound small pasta shells [you can use any small shaped pasta] 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup sliced red onions [I used green onions because they were on hand] 3 cloves garlic, minced [use a garlic press to simplify things] One 14-1/2-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped [I used a can of diced tomatoes, drained] 1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained [I used a whole 15-ounce can] 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt [all recipes in this book use kosher salt, use about 1/4 teaspoon regular salt and check the taste; I found this great blog post talking about kosher salt] 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried Crumbled feta cheese or grated Romano cheese for garnish (optional) [I used a Parmesan/Romano blend]
1) Put a pot of water up to boil. This can be used to first blanch the broccoli and then to cook the shells. (I use a metal basket to hold the florets so they are easy to remove after their brief cooking.)
2) As the pot of water is coming to boil, heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and saute [does anybody know how to put the accent on the “e” in saute] the onions and garlic over moderate heat until the onions soften and turn golden. Keep covered between stirrings. Stir in the broccoli and remaining ingredients except the cheese. Simmer gently.
3) Just before the past is finished cooking *scoop out 1/4 cup of the boiling water (use a heatproof glass measuring cup) and add it to the vegetables. When the pasta is ready, drain and put it in a large pasta serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss. Top with the feta cheese or Romano, if desired.