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Orecchiette with Cool Chickpeas
Makes 4 First Course Servings
*1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped red onion
*4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1 teaspoon or more finely chopped fresh hot pepper
*1 cup cooked chickpeas
*1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
*1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
*5 large fresh mint leaves
*8 ounces dried orecchiette or pasta shells
*Lemon wedges (optional)
1In a large bowl, combine the onion, olive oil, hot pepper, chickpeas, parsley and lemon juice. Slice the mint into a fine chiffonade and stir into the chickpeas. Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour.
2Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and drop in the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until al dente.
3Drain the pasta and toss in the bowl with the chickpeas. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the flavors.
4Serve with a crusty loaf of bread to dip into the sauce, along with lemon wedges to spritz each serving, if you like.
  • This room-temperature dish is a snap to make. All the ingredients but the pasta are assembled in advance and the orecchiette are cooked just before serving. If you want to get fancy, peel the chickpeas beforehand. Does it make a difference? Yes, the pasta dish will be more refined. Elegant or rustic? It is your choice. Either way, you will have a delicious pasta.
  • Orecchiette, or little pasta ears, are ideal for this combination as they cuddle with the chickpeas and collect them in their little concave interiors. Slices of bread from a crusty loaf are a good accompaniment to soak up every drop of sauce in the bottom of the bowl.

Recipe courtesy of Johanne Killeen and George Germon of Al Forno Restaurant, Providence, RI from their book 'On Top of Spaghetti...Macaroni, Linguine, Penne, and Pasta of Every Kind', HarperCollins, 2006