Spring is here! And so is a delicious dish called “Crispy Pasta with Chickpeas, Lemon, and Parsley.” Recently gifted with the hefty, gorgeously blue “Christopher Kimball of Boston” cookbook called “Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” yours truly has been cooking away.
Mr. Christopher Kimball is the renowned chef and owner of acclaimed eatery “Christopher Kimball’s of Milk Street” in Boston, and he’s a regular on the culinary arts media circuit. Thus, a foray into his food genius brain is surely a treat regardless of the ingredients. As the saying goes, “Some chefs are so talented they can make a shoe with tomato sauce taste delicious!” Or some quote of the sort.
Now straight off, my “Crispy Pasta with Chickpeas, Lemon, and Parsley” was NOT as easy to cook as you might imagine. Pasta with simple, fresh, light, and flavorful Mediterranean ingredients (perfect for our springtime weather), what’s so hard about that, right? Well, it was all about the “crispy,” or rather my valiant attempt at achieving it. It was the most delicate, time-sensitive and labor-intensive part to this recipe, so be prepared for some fancy handiwork and clock glances. The preparation of the chickpeas, and other veggie ingredients were typical and easy, but getting that pasta the right texture and consistency was definitely a doozy.
But if you do manage to reach the end of your cooking expedition, you’ll be pleased by the delectable results. What I love most about this dish, and what makes it truly blog-worthy, is its truly Mediterranean taste. It’s a serenely warm, sunny, sumptuous dish which is sure to draw calls for seconds.
This meal is perfect for a warm, sunny spring night, out on the back porch. It’s all those great Mediterranean cuisine (and specifically Italian cuisine) descriptions we always hear. There’s a zesty lightness to this dish that is gratifying. Mangia! Mangia! You don’t feel as if you’re eating a heavy winter soup, which we all of course love, but is best eaten in cold weather and is brilliantly designed to fill our stomachs with weight (a la a cute bear heading into his cave for hibernation).
That said, this dish still has immense flavor. The lemon can be used as little or as much as you like (aka "utilize your zing barometer"), and the fact that you’re using both freshly squeezed lemon juice alongside lemon zest is fantastic in terms of creating a multi-layered taste. The lemon juice is enjoyed in every bite, and then you get that awesome extra-tart when you bite into a small piece of lemon zest. Mmm. The parsley then adds an earthy, grounding, balancing effect to the lemon. Double mmm.
Finally, that wonderfully crispy pasta is textural heaven. Given that you’re crisping the pasta in a searing pan, it comes out all hot on the plate, and it tastes oh-so-good with the crunchy chickpeas. The reward? It truly is a sit back and ENJOY moment. Thank you, Christophe Kimball, for your most gratifying meal.