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Preserved Lemon + Chickpea Pasta with Parsley Pesto

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Talking with my father on the phone last week, he wondered why the heck the structure and content of my blog was changing. He thought y’all would want to know what was going on, too. Isn’t that sweet? There’s not too much change, really: I’ve just created a schedule (Tuesday and Friday, every week!), and broadened the scope of what I produce. I’ve done this to keep myself inspired, and it’s working. I was by no means in a slump before, but now I feel extra enthusiastic. It is so awesome to have more focus: to bookmark interesting and inspiring stuff all over the internet throughout the week, and to deeply consider the nuance and tone of colors in produce. I kind of missed the structure that the Seasonal Food Guide provided, and now I have something new to anchor both myself and this place.

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Although it is not spring, at all, something in this fresh start feels very springlike. It’s influencing the food I make, too: there seems to be a penchant for bright, vibrant foods rather than the muted earth tones so common to slow-cooked winter meals. I’m okay with that.

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The preserved lemon is kind of amazing in this context. That and this simple parsley pesto bring the pasta to life. The chickpeas are first sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic, giving them a creamy interior and crisped exterior. Throw in some young spinach leaves and you’re set. This is all kinds of easy goodness.

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PRESERVED LEMON + CHICKPEA PASTA WITH PARSLEY PESTO
Serves 4

8 ounces pasta of choice (brown rice pasta used here)
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
15 ounce can of chickpeas, thoroughly drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh parsley
1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 quarters preserved lemon, chopped (equal to 1/2 lemon; substitute zest + 1 tbsp lemon juice if no preserved lemons on hand)
1/3 cup reserved pasta water
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a drizzle of olive oil and then cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water and then drain. Set aside in pot to keep warm

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium skillet over a medium low flame. Add two teaspoons olive oil. Add one clove of the minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas. Saute for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. Combine the remaining clove of garlic with the 1/3 cup of olive oil, the parsley and the almonds. Puree in a food processor until a coarse paste has formed.

Toss the warm pasta with the spinach leaves to wilt them. Add the pesto, chickpeas, preserved lemons and gently toss. If a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water for creaminess.

Taste to see if the preserved lemons provide enough salt. Season to taste with sea salt if desired, along with freshly cracked black pepper. Best served immediately.

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  • kate - February 28, 2012 - 7:06 am

    This looks fantastic! I’m always forgetting about the jar of preserved lemons in the back of my fridge, so I’m glad to have a new recipe to use them in.ReplyCancel

  • sreebindu - February 28, 2012 - 7:22 am

    pastaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :) yumm ..my fav combo..pasta and chick pea =)ReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon - February 28, 2012 - 7:54 am

    Beautiful! Spring! (Can we go there yet???)ReplyCancel

  • beach bum chix - February 28, 2012 - 8:29 am

    oh.my.goodness. this looks amazing…excited to try it!ReplyCancel

  • nicole franzen - February 28, 2012 - 9:26 am

    yummy, anything pasta related with pesto, lemon etc. Has me drooling :) lol sounds delishReplyCancel

  • sara - February 28, 2012 - 9:30 am

    holy goodness. i don’t often crave pasta, or even think photos of it look all that amazing, but man! i need this. i like the new structure. tell your dad i said so ;)ReplyCancel

  • erin @ from city to farm - February 28, 2012 - 9:34 am

    Yum..yum!!! And you’re absolutely right. So many blogs have dense, hearty meals and I’m beyond ready for fresh and light. So this recipe is just the ticket!!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole @ Eat This Poem - February 28, 2012 - 9:38 am

    LOVING your post today! Love the simplicity of lemon and parsley, and love that parsley is in the spotlight instead of simply a garnish. And anything with pasta usually has me slightly obsessed.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - February 28, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Loving your ideas and the bright, cheerful flavors in the recipe today! I’ve got a serious case of spring fever, though. :)ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - February 28, 2012 - 10:38 am

    This sounds insanely good! It may be the prettiest pasta dish I’ve ever seen. How cute is it that your Dad is looking out for you?! :)ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie - February 28, 2012 - 10:47 am

    Love it! This time of year I’m definitely looking for something bright and zingy and super colorful…and this has all of those things! Great stuff, Kim!ReplyCancel

  • SG - February 28, 2012 - 10:50 am

    This looks heavenly. I really like the new structure and especially the focus on color – tiny shifts can really change perspective and energy.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah L. Bolla - February 28, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    This is calling me! Especially since I put lemon in everything, you’ve nailed the perfect combination here. Love this so much!ReplyCancel

  • strawberriesandpepper - February 28, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    I am ALWAYS a sucker for chickpeas. Any dish that is dressed with them is likely to be one I keep returning to. This sounds like an absolutely lovely dish, and I just happen to have a large bunch of parsley on hand.ReplyCancel

  • ileana - February 28, 2012 - 1:00 pm

    This picture is making me so hungry! I love chickpeas.ReplyCancel

  • silver - February 28, 2012 - 1:03 pm

    I never thought of chickpea’s and Pasta! Thank You for the inspiration (I rarely eat Cabbage but reading one of your previous post’s I actually cooked up some cabbage with coconut,cilantro and an indian spice called ajmo have no idea what it is called in english!)ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - February 28, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    This looks like my kind of meal. I love all the ingredients and I’m sure putting them altogether is a stroke of genius. LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - February 28, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    I absolutely love that pesto! Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Ambika - February 28, 2012 - 10:08 pm

    Love that bowl of pasta, looks so fresh and full of flavors!ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine - February 29, 2012 - 1:38 am

    I love making preserved lemons. It’s always so nice to open a jar of them from the pantry shelf. This dish looks and sounds divine!ReplyCancel

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes - February 29, 2012 - 4:00 am

    This is my type of everyday meal! Looks really tasty and light.ReplyCancel

  • Vicky - February 29, 2012 - 7:39 am

    SOunds like a perfect vegetarian meal! What are preserved lemons though? Not sure I’ve ever heard of them before…ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - February 29, 2012 - 7:53 am

    Preserving lemons right now, will be making this when they are done! Pinning it for later, thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - February 29, 2012 - 9:37 am

    This looks wonderful. As luck would have it I have preserved lemons ready to go (limes, in fact, but they seem to be about the same after all that time hanging out in salt). I love all the flavors you’ve combined and can’t wait!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - February 29, 2012 - 3:39 pm

    Having a schedule is such a good way to stay motivated and organized. Matt strongly encouraged us to set one up and we generally try to stick to it! I’m excited to see this recipe, too, because I have a lovely jar of preserved lemons in my pantry and now have an exciting new use for it!ReplyCancel

  • charlotte au chocolat - February 29, 2012 - 8:58 pm

    just made this for dinner! perfect use of an almost withering bunch of parsley… super delicious! thank you :)ReplyCancel

  • Linda - March 1, 2012 - 2:37 am

    I never heard of preserved lemon. This looks wonderful and I will try it once I figure out the lemon.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - March 1, 2012 - 11:23 am

    Hey all! I’ve included a link for making preserved lemons above. And thanks for all of the awesome feedback! It really makes my day.ReplyCancel

  • Irene - March 1, 2012 - 12:54 pm

    This pasta looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com - March 1, 2012 - 4:52 pm

    The best pasta’s are the ones made with fresh ingredients and without any fussy cooking methods.

    This is divine :DReplyCancel

  • Laura {gourmettenyc} - March 2, 2012 - 6:13 am

    This pasta dish looks absolutely delicious. I love the incorporation of chickpeas.ReplyCancel

  • Julia - March 3, 2012 - 12:12 am

    This pasta dish looks so delicious… a nifty, but still every day recipe! Love your pictures as well!ReplyCancel

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  • Kate - March 5, 2012 - 6:29 am

    I love your new structure, and I love this recipe. I got curious about preserved lemons when I read all about them in Mourad. I bought a couple at a local gourmet shop instead of making my own, and this fresh pasta recipe looks like the perfect application for them!ReplyCancel

  • rubyclaire - March 12, 2012 - 4:33 pm

    This was really light and fresh, however I didn’t have preserved lemons and felt that if I did, it would have really made the flavors more dynamic. This post has inspired me to get a jar brewing for the next time i revisit this dish. I really liked the chickpeas cooked! The parsley pesto was very good too. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - March 17, 2012 - 9:28 am

    I’m going to make this, but instead go with basil pesto. I froze a bunch of pesto cubes a few months ago fresh from our garden and have been finding new ways to use them. Thanks for this! :)ReplyCancel

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