Thursday, April 16, 2015

6 Years and Italian Chickpeas

I’ve heard that if you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit. What if you’ve been doing something for 6 years? Can that be defined as an addiction? A sickness? At least an obsession, right?

Honestly, I’m really not the type of person to develop obsessions, so part of me is quite surprised that I’ve been blogging on The Messy Apron for 6 whole years. The rest of me, the parts that actually pay attention, are not so shocked, however, because I have yet to find a way to become bored with this thing. I’m always learning something new, improving (hopefully), and finding ways to fit blogging into my schedule.

And, of course, best of all, I’m always trying new recipes, searching for the delicious in many, many cookbooks, countless magazine clippings, and all over the wide, wide world of the World Wide Web. There are times when I don’t think I can keep up the photographing, writing and posting, but it’s the recipes that keep me going. Grandpa Vic always said, “You have to eat something,” and here at The Messy Apron, there will always be something to eat.

6 Years ago, I awkwardly introduced myself to cyberspace. I just had to talk about food and recipes (and I really didn’t know how to photograph these things at all!...I think I got a bit better). I started with a simple but delicious recipe that has been a weeknight standby for me for many, many years: something I named Italian Chickpeas. I didn’t get any photos of my Italian Chickpeas all those years ago, so I thought I’d snap a few and re-post the recipe for old time’s sake.

Even with all the new and tasty treats there are to try, my husband, Harry, and I will not stop loving this dish. It’s saucy and savory, redolent with garlic and olive oil, and utterly fabulous and satisfying. And easy! I usually serve it with a green salad and always, always with a chunk of toasted bread. The whole cloves of garlic that simmer in the sauce get so soft and sweet that we must fish them out of the bowl and spread them on the bread. Fabulous!

This dish is also vegetarian, relatively inexpensive (although it contains a good-size glug of olive oil and, here, better is better), makes enough for two very hungry people, and re-heats nicely if you want to save some for later. If you’re new to cooking, make this dish. If you’re looking for ways to eat more vegetarian meals, make this dish. If you need a cheap, easy weeknight standby, make this dish.

Italian Chickpeas, along with other simple favorites like Peanutty Noodles, Soup Beans and Pizza, will be on my table and my apron forever. Luckily for the longevity of this blog, new recipes will keep coming forever, too. Thank you, thank you for stopping by The Messy Apron and special thanks to those of you who stick around to read some more…for 6 whole years!

Italian Chickpeas
The garlic stays whole in this dish, but gets beautifully soft and is great spread on a chunk of bread alongside the pasta and sauce.

1/3 cup good olive oil
6 large (or more to taste) garlic cloves, peeled and cracked
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), do not drain
Hot cooked pasta, preferably a short, curly shape, such as radiatore, orecchiette, or rotini

1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook, shifting and flipping the cloves often until they just begin to brown all over.

2. Add the parsley and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, and the liquid (only the liquid!) from the can of chickpeas. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 20 minutes. (After about 10 minutes it’s a good time to start heating the pasta cooking water so the pasta and the sauce will get done at about the same time.) If the sauce is very thick, add a little water.

3. Add the chickpeas and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with hot pasta.

Makes 2 very generous or 3-4 modest servings.

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