A quick and hearty lunch or an easy weeknight dinner, this creamy, punchy and healthy pesto pasta makes a great vegetarian meal or pasta salad to bring to a summer barbecue.
- 1 pound Rotini, Penne, Farfalle Or Other Short Pasta
- ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1 cup (in a pile) grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 box (size 15 1/2 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cups Potted pesto
- ⅓ cups Parmesan cheese, plus more, for serving
- 2 tablespoons Butter
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Drop pasta into water and cook 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain. Return the pasta to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook about 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant, then add tomatoes and cook, undisturbed, about 3 minutes or until tomatoes start to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
Increase the heat to medium, add the chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes, then mash half of them with the back of a spoon or potato masher. Stir everything together, then add the red wine vinegar and pesto. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Add the chickpea pesto mixture to the pot with the pasta, along with 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and turn the heat to medium. Gradually add the Parmesan, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed (I usually end up using the whole 2 cups), until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is creamy and emulsified , about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter until it melts. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Serve in bowls, garnished with extra Parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper.