The Lean Green Bean

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reader Request: Pasta with Chickpeas, Spinach & Squash

I got my first reader request today (SO EXCITED)! My friend Aileen wanted a "vegetarian, healthy, whole-grain fall pasta dish with squash and pecorino romano." Ask and you shall receive! After a little searching, I found the perfect recipe and seeing as I didn't have anything planned for dinner tonight, I gave it a try.


Pasta with Chickpeas, Spinach & Squash
*My changes below, original recipe found here

Ingredients:
-1 pound frozen or shelf-stable gnocchi (I only really like gnocchi from a good italian restaurant so I opted for multi-grain spiral pasta instead)
-extra-virgin olive oil
-2 cups thinly sliced, peeled butternut squash (I more diced than sliced mine, and I didn't measure it out. I just used 1/2 of a smallish squash)
-1/2 cup sliced shallots (I never really use shallots so I went with an onion instead)
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 14-ounce can vegetable broth (I used my frozen, homemade broth...didn't really measure it out. I had a little too much at the end so I just drained it out)
-2 tablespoons currants (not totally sure what these are, so I went with Craisins)
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed (sage is not in my spice pantry staples so I used some parsley...not a whole Tbsp though)
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
-8 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (I was making a scaled down version so didn't quite hit the 8 cups but I do like my baby spinach!)
-1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar reduction or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I went with a splash of the plain old balsamic)  
-I added Pecorino Romano cheese and sliced almonds

Directions:
-Cook your pasta and set aside
-Peel your squash and scoop out the seeds:
-Heat olive oil in a large pan and add garlic, onion and cubed squash:


Saute for a few minutes, then add veggie broth and craisins:


Cover and cook until squash is at desired tenderness. Then add chickpeas and spinach:


Stir until spinach is wilted. Add pasta and warm through. After plating, top with sliced almonds and grated cheese:


Drizzle a splash of balsamic vinegar over the top and serve warm:


The review: This dish was pretty darn good! I added almonds for a crunch but leave them off if you don't like them. You could use swiss chard instead of spinach or sweet potatoes instead of squash. The balsamic vinegar really makes the dish. It tastes delicious with the squash. You could also shave the cheese instead of grating it or use Parmesan instead of Pecorino. The Craisins absorb a little of the broth and plump up a bit. I'll be making this one again :)

My second choice for this reader request was: Rigatoni with Butternut Squash Sauce

Enjoy!
--Lindsay--

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