Chickpea Red Sauce

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“Enough with the winter vegetables already! I’m sick of turnips and beets and cabbage!” you say.

Fine. Me too (well, a bit anyway). It is March, after all (!), so I will allow us a brief respite.

Time to pull out all those tomatoes you made into sauce into the summer. Just kidding, I wasn’t that good this year. I’ll do better next year, promise (I did freeze some of them, but not enough for lots of pasta sauce). Fortunately, you can still buy tomato sauce, and some of it is pretty good! Look for brands without added sugar. Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchen sells Maine-made tomato sauces; and if you aren’t in Maine or aren’t as ridiculously neurotic about eating locally as I am, go for the fancy Italian ones. They grow delicious tomatoes.

Speaking of tomatoes, here’s an interesting article about seed-breeding, and making it open-source (it’s funny to me when agriculture borrows terms from tech. Mostly it’s the other way ’round). Breeding for flavor?? What a novel concept.

This sauce is hands-down my favorite go-to quick vegetarian (vegan, even) meal to feed a crowd. It’s easy, delicious, nutritious, and almost universally loved (I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t love it, but I’m hardly ever ready to entirely reject the possibility).

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I usually put it over pasta, but today I decided to do potatoes. Mostly because I have approximately a bazillion potatoes and they are almost sprouting so need to be used. I have this idea in my head that I don’t like potatoes that much—I never seem to have an urgency to use them—but it’s not true, whenever I make them I devour them quite happily. In any case, using potatoes with this recipe has the added benefit of sharing another interesting tidbit, a tomato-potato plant! Apparently, they are in the same family and can be grafted together. So, not only could you grow the ingredients for this recipe in the same place, they could be the same plant.

Fried potatoes with chickpea red sauce
Potatoes
Oil and Salt

Olive oil
An onion 
Garlic
A few sprigs of rosemary
1 cup cooked chickpeas (to cook: soak overnight, then boil and simmer with an onion until soft. Add salt near the end, and make sure to keep the broth for another use)—canned will do in a pinch
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (home made or bought)
Salt and pepper
Cheese to top, if desired

Do the potatoes first. Chop them up into small chunks (if you want them crispy, make them skinnier and smaller). Sprinkle generously with salt and oil and put in a hot oven (400ºF ish) until crispy, at least 20 minutes and probably longer.

For the sauce: Chop the onions and garlic, and sauté in oil with the rosemary until soft and aromatic. Add half the chickpeas and sauté a little longer, making the chickpeas golden. Add the tomato sauce, then purée, either in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. It’s also good not blended, just not as original. Add in the rest of the chickpeas, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve over the roasted potatoes, topped with cheese as desired.

Like I said, it’s also great over pasta. Or sandwiches, for that matter.

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