Preserved Lemon, Cannellini Beans & Chickpea Pasta with Parsley Pesto

Apologies for the lack of posts and also the lack of photos in this post! I didn’t have my camera to hand as I made this recipe, but it was so delicious I had to share. So wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and lots of happiness and success for 2013! Did you have a nice Christmas/holiday period?

I have to say, I really enjoyed my Christmas this year. A big family Christmas with lots of eating, drinking and merriment. It does seem to fly by all too quickly though doesn’t it! Which reminds me, time is ticking by, so I really must start working on some of my 101 Things to do before I’m 30 list!! I still have 94 things to do…..eeek!

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

This recipe is so so good. My mum recently bought me a large jar of preserved lemons. I’ve never used them in cooking before and wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. After much searching on the internet and through various blogs, I found this fantastic recipe from The Year in Food. It was such an incredibly easy recipe. I made a couple changes to the recipe, in that I added cannellini beans, chorizo and prawns to the recipe.

Preserved Lemon, Cannellini Beans, Chickpea pasta with Parsley Pesto (Serves 4)

  • 300g pasta (I used linguine)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained
  • 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, coarsley chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  •  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
  • Chorizo
  • Prawns
  • sea salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste

Firstly, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add a little drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt. Many people believe the oil is used to prevent the pasta from sticking together, but on the contrary it is used to prevent the water from foaming and overflowing. As for the salt, an old Italian saying says to salt to pot not the pasta. If you cook the pasta without salt, no matter how tasty the sauce afterwards, the pasta will still taste bland. Cook your pasta and when cooked, reserve about 1/3 cup of the cooking water and then drain. Set aside and keep warm.

While pasta is cooking, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add two tsp olive oil. Add one clove of the minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas and cannellini beans. Saute for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

At the same time, prepare your chorizo sausage and prawns in an oven proof dish. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes at 180C (350F). The oils from the chorizo will coat the prawns in cooking, so there is no need for oil when baking. Leave aside and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. My parents have a huge parsley plant at home, which is taking over the herb patch, so I took a great big chunk of this for the pesto sauce. Here we need to 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. Easy peasy.

Toss the warm pasta with the pesto, chickpeas, chorizo, cannellini beans, prawns and preserved lemons. Gently toss. If a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water for creaminess. (This is a great tip for cooking all pasta dishes. Always reserve some of the pasta water to add some more creaminess to a dish.)

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.