- 1 lb (500 g) tubetti or ditalini pasta
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried chili flakes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 cups (500 mL) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 lb (500 g) fresh squid, mussels or clams
- ½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
- Salt, QB
- Freshly ground black pepper, QB
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Basil Pesto or QB
- Freshly grated ParmigianoReggiano, QB
** This recipe calls for squid, but I’ve also made it with mussels and clams and it’s equally delicious. **
To start, give the squid a good rinse inside and out, then cut the bodies into medium-size rings and finely chop the tentacles. Get your sauce and your pasta going at the same time.
Put a large pot of water on to boil. When the water boils, salt it and drop in the pasta. Give it a quick stir. In another pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions. Just before the onions soften, stir in the chili flakes. Let it cook until the onions become soft, sweet and translucent.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and parsley and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every so often, until the tomatoes start to soften and lose their shape. Add the squid and toss with the other ingredients. Then stir in the wine and cook for a minute or two until it reduces a little. At this point I like to mash up some of the chickpeas to give the dish a thicker, creamier texture.
When your pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving ½ to 1 cup (125 to 250 mL) of the pasta cooking water.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the pesto. Stir in just enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to get the consistency you like. Let everything cook for a few minutes so the flavors come together. Taste and adjust the seasonings. To finish, sprinkle with some Parmigiano and a drizzle of olive oil.
My dad loves ceci e pasta or chickpea and pasta soup. One day I made this spin on that classic and he went crazy for it, so now I make it for him all the time. This recipe calls for squid, but I’ve also made it with mussels and clams when I can’t get fresh squid, and it’s equally delicious.