Mafalda Pasta with Braised Arugula Sauce and Chickpeas

Mafalda pasta noodles look like thin, ribbonlike lasagna noodles. I love the name and the pasta. Of course, you can use any pasta you like for this delicious dish. This is a healthful one-dish meal you can prepare in less than 30 minutes. It supplies needed protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and the colors are beautiful, too.

Ingredients

  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, cut in half, then into ribs, separated
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 7 ounces baby arugula, about 8 cups
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 16 ounces mafalda pasta or other pasta of your choice
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup pasta cooking water
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
  • Grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

Method

  1. Bring a large covered pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the edges of the onions and garlic begin to brown but not burn. Add the arugula, red pepper flakes, and a little sea salt. Using tongs, turn the arugula to coat with the oil and onions. Cook for just several seconds, turning the arugula with the tongs until it just wilts. Turn off the heat and leave the skillet on the stove.
  2. Once the pot of water reaches a rapid boil, stir in the pasta and cook according to package directions, but add the drained chickpeas during the last minute of cooking to heat them. Before draining the pasta, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and stir it into the cooked arugula. Taste for seasoning, keeping in mind that if you plan to use Pecorino Romano cheese later in the recipe, you should go easy on the salt as the cheese tends to be salty. Drain the pasta and chickpeas and turn them into a serving bowl.
  3. Spoon the arugula and all the juices onto the cooked pasta. Using two wooden spoons, gently toss the pasta to coat it with the arugula sauce. If using goat cheese, scatter the pieces evenly over the pasta. Then, if using the Pecorino Romano cheese, sprinkle this evenly over pasta. Scatter the grated lemon zest evenly over the pasta and serve immediately.

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