Another easy pasta supper, lemony, garlicky, cheesy, broccoli good.
I have a theory, one which makes me swear like a sea-salty sailor.
We Americans consume ten times the salt our bodies need. So when we’re told, “Cut back on salt,” we lightly salt – or worse, skip the salt entirely – when cooking eggs, meat and especially vegetables.
But saltless food tastes flat, leaving our taste buds unsatisfied and our inner chefs questioning our culinary skills. So we turn to prepared food products, which, you guessed it, are heavily salted for both flavor and preservation.
It’s a vicious circle, harder than laboring in the salt mines. The less we salt at home, the more salt we consume. Tastes do vary with heredity, health and age. Children are more sensitive to saltiness than older adults, for example. But if more salt means we eat more broccoli, more green beans, more leafy greens, more dried beans and legumes, more healthful food, well then, isn’t salt a modern-day miracle food?
BROCCOLI RIGATONI with
CHICKPEAS & LEMON
Time to table: 40 minutes
- 8 cups water
- 3 tablespoons table salt
- 1 pound fresh broccoli, crowns cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled & chopped
- 8 ounces rigatoni
- 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed & drained
- Zest & juice of 2 lemons
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (from 1-1/2 ounces)
In a large pot, bring water and salt to boil. Prep broccoli, keeping florets and chopped stalks separate. Drop broccoli florets into boiling water, cover, cook for 3 minutes, lift out with slotted spoon to drain in a colander. Add rigatoni, cook til done, drain.
Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough to hold everything, stir together chickpeas, lemon zest, juice and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium til shimmery. Add chopped broccoli stalks, cook til just beginning to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add broccoli florets, warm through. Add chickpea mixture, warm through. Turn this and cooked rigatoni into chickpeas. Add Parmesan, stir gently.
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