This week is kicking my butt. Actually this summer is kind of kicking my butt. Even after several years it feels so odd to be an adult during the summer. It feels so odd for summer to come without a break from regular life. It leaves me feeling a little lost, like I need to find some way for the summer to feel free without actually being on vacation. But this week has been especially tough. I’ve seen a little too much negativity on the internet for my liking. I’ve had a mini existential crisis. And then Wednesday I came down with a little something and had to go to the doctor on Thursday.
Perhaps I’ve been thinking about creativity a little too much, hence the existential crisis. During the school year, as if my life still runs by semesters, I find it easy to focus on projects. When August comes around I can feel the need for a schedule and a project and it’s easy for me to sit down and write on a regular basis. But during the summer I feel flighty and and unsure. I’m not sure what kind of project to play with, or if it is even worth playing with all these different projects (again, the mini existential crisis). I’m sure the creativity and inspiration will be back, so I’m not being too hard on myself. But right now, it’s just hard to sit down and do what I usually love.
But I realize how deep that desire to create is rooted inside of me. When weeks go by without my having created something I can feel myself sinking into a funk. And while my recent blogging break was much needed, I felt a bit out of sorts not coming to this space repeatedly for so many weeks.
The kitchen has been there for me though. Sometimes it seems that when my writing or other methods of creating seem to wane, I feel more free to create in the kitchen and more open to trying to recipes without any certainty that they will turn out.
This one turned out wonderfully though. It’s from An Everlasting Meal and it seemed too simple to work. Just chickpeas and pasta? Like really? That’s it? But in my quest to find more meatless (and simple) meals for us to eat on a regular basis, this one hit the nail on the head. The beans take a bit of time to cook of course, but once they do it is as simple as boiling pasta and stirring it together with the beans. A bit of Parmesan cheese doesn’t hurt either. And Gerrit added crushed red pepper and said that it is definitely a dish to be repeated in our regular rotation.
It’s amazing to be able to take two simple an inexpensive ingredients and transform them, with hardly anything else, into a bowl of pasta that can make a meal for us. And in weeks in which I can feel my creativity waning just a bit, to be able to create something like this is exactly what I need.
This dish is so absolutely simple. And while I don’t include it in the recipe, some crushed red pepper flakes are a nice addition if you like a bit of spice (which I do not).
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
1 (30 oz.) can chickpeas
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. small shaped pasta (penne, macaroni, etc.)
1. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse them for about a minute.
2. Heat a small pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft (but don’t let it brown too much or burn).
3. Add the chickpeas and a pinch of salt, and then add water to cover the chickpeas by 1 inch. Increase the heat to medium and cook the beans for 30 to 45 minutes. Keep adding water when necessary, with just enough water so that the beans look short of wet. The beans are done when five beans randomly selected from the pot all taste creamy and velvety.
4. Add a pinch of pepper and turn the heat to low while the pasta cooks.
5. Bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente. Just before you drain the pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta water and add about a quarter of it to the chickpeas.
6. Combine the chickpeas and pasta in a large bowl and stir together. If it seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water (you should have a very thin but creamy sauce that coats the pasta and chickpeas). If you’d like, stir a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese into the pasta as well.