Here's a vegan takeoff on this recent recipe from The New York Times, with additional inspiration from the classic Italian dish pasta alla ceci, this Greek dish, a pasta recipe I linked to a while back, and the wonderful site 101cookbooks, which first turned me on to the idea of putting toasted almonds on top of pasta. I dedicate this recipe to my husband, who loves things that are very, very lemony.
Pasta with Fried Lemons, Chickpeas and Almonds
1 lb pasta
4 T olive oil
1 lb frozen chopped spinach, or bag of fresh spinach
large handful of slivered almonds (1/2 c or so)
2 T Earth Balance margarine (optional)
3/4 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
8 cloves garlic (believe it or not, this is also OPTIONAL)
1 t salt
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t — 1 t thyme, to taste
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Put a big pot of salted water on to boil. Zest two lemons. Juice one of them. Set aside the zest and juice.
Cut the ends off the other two lemons and quarter them lengthwise. Take out the seeds. Thinly slice the quarters. Blanch for 2 or 3 minutes in the boiling water, remove with a slotted spoon, and pat dry with a dishtowel or paper towels.
Put the pasta in the water and boil until just al dente. It will be getting cooked a bit more after you take it out of the water, so don't overboil it now. Drain it, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Put 1 T oil in a big skillet and fry the lemon slices with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar, until caramelized—that is, browned at the edges—3 to 5 minutes. Take them out of the pan and set aside.
Steam fresh spinach for a couple of minutes, or if it's frozen, cook it in the microwave.
Toast a handful of slivered almonds in a dry skillet, stirring a few times, until fragrant and slightly browned.
Heat the remaining oil, and margarine if using, in the big skillet you used for the lemon slices. Add red pepper flakes, caramelized lemons, and garlic if using. Cook on medium low until garlic is very slightly browned. Add the pasta water, the pasta, the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper to taste, thyme, and chickpeas. Mix in the spinach and toasted almonds. Toss until it's all warmed through. Taste and see if you want to add any more lemon, olive oil, salt or pepper.
Enjoy, and have a happy Halloween!
|Edward Gorey, cover for Nineteenth Century German Tales, 1959, via 50watts|