Chef Nir Mesika of Timna in NYC, makes a rich stew of chickpeas and freekeh, and then throws in dry linguini to soak up the stew and turn it into a rich, creamy sauce for pasta.
If you haven’t cooked with freekeh before, it’s time to give the ancient grain a try. It’s roasted green wheat that when simmered for hours turns into tender, chewy pearls. It adds the perfect bite to contrast the chickpeas and pasta in this dish.
The stew itself takes a little bit of time, but you can make it the day before or even freeze it for a future meal. Just bring the stew back to a boil, then add the pasta, and in 20 minutes, dinner is ready.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus overnight soaking time
Cook Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes, plus overnight soaking time
- ½ cup canola oil
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño pepper—stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
- One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup celery leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
- 1 cup freekeh, soaked overnight and drained
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 pound dry linguine pasta
- 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1. In a 6-quart pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic, jalapeño and ginger, and cook until lightly golden, 2 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and cumin, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the celery leaves, tomatoes, carrot, and white and red onions. Sauté the vegetables until tender and lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes.
2. Add the soaked chickpeas and freekeh, and cover with the vegetable stock and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the chickpeas and freekeh are tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the lemon juice and dried linguine to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 14 to 16 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls and garnish with more cilantro, then serve.
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