Need a new weekday pantry pasta recipe? Try my new go-to combination of honey, cumin, roasted red peppers, tomato sauce and fresh mint. This recipe is wonderful dotted with little lamb meatballs but it is faster, healthier and vegetarian friendly if you make it with cooked chickpeas instead.
The sauce has a decidedly middle eastern inspiration and could easily be served on coucous or with a salty feta cheese stirred in. Try it and see if you can add this to your regular rotation too.
Spaghetti with Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas(serves 2)
Put a large pot of water on to boil, while you are waiting for it to boil, start the sauce.
Heat a large saucepan to medium high heat and add the tablespoon of oil. Add the sliced onions and a big pinch of salt. Slowly cook the onions, stirring regularly until evenly browned. Add the garlic, cumin and cayenne and cook for another 3 minutes until fragrant. If there are a lot of browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, you can stir in a tablespoon of water and scrape that flavour back into the onions. Add the honey, and stir to incorporate. Stir in the roasted red pepper (*), tomato sauce and chickpeas, reduce temperature until it is calmly simmering.
When the water has boiled, add a palmful of salt to the water. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
A minute or two before your pasta timer goes off, stir the spinach and mint into the pasta sauce, turn up the heat so that the spinach can cook. Once the spinach has cooked stir in the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Correct if necessary and return heat to low. Toss the sauce with pasta and serve hot.
(*) You can use jarred or a fresh roasted red pepper. I always use fresh since it doesn't take very long. I quickly char it under the broiler or over a gas flame if I have one. Once blackened on all sides I put it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let it steam for five minutes and then remove the skin and core. Done!