With frugality being the operative word these days, I've been trying to use up ingredients that I've bought and stored in the pantry "just in case". I open the door and pull out three random ingredients and make a meal with them. Sometimes it's a good experience, and other times, well... not so much. This time was a big hit. The three main ingredients were:
a can of chick peas, and
a box of whole wheat rotini pasta.
Artichoke and Chick Pea Pasta
4 C cooked whole wheat pasta (reserve ½ C pasta cooking liquid)
1 onion, chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2-3 T olive oil
12 oz package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 C white wine
juice of 1 lemon
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked and sliced
1 can of chickpeas, drained
3 T capers, drained
¼ C pine nuts, toasted
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
4 oz goat cheese (I used herbed cheese)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
While pasta is cooking, in a medium saucepan sauté the onions and mushrooms in 2 T of olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft. Add the artichokes, garlic, wine, lemon juice and pepper flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced. Scoop out ½ C of pasta water and add to the saucepan, along with the sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, capers, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, until tomatoes and chickpeas are warmed through. Add pasta and toss with sauce. After serving, add 1 oz goat cheese to each plate and sprinkle with pine nuts. Add Parmesan if desired.
**Note: I made this without the goat cheese at first and it was merely "OK". When I added the goat cheese the second night, we both wished there was enough for seconds! The cheese added a wonderfully complex layer of flavor.