Summer pantry meal: 15-minute Pasta with Zucchini and Chickpeas

July 3, 2016

Summer pantry dinner: 15-min Pasta with Zucchini & Chickpeas | One Hungry Mama

I almost never feed my boys a separate kids meal. I can’t lie: partly it’s on principle. Mostly, though, it’s about keeping things easy for me. It’s about doing and eating what I want. Every once and while, though, making a quick, separate kids meal works out better for me and, when it does, I go for it.

This weekend, I wanted to take my time to prep a big birthday meal that the grown ups would eat later in the evening with a special guest. Instead of cooking early and having the meal sit, I threw together a summer pantry meal for the boys, got them to bed, and then sipped on a Aperol Spritz while prepping lamb kabobs, pilaf, string beans with yogurt and pine nuts, and a spinach salad with dates, almonds and quick pickled red onion.

That was easier. That was what I wanted.

On occasions when I make separate meals for the boys, I rely heavily on my pantry. In the winter, that means digging through my cupboard and freezer like I did for this all-pantry dinner recipe. In the summer, when produce is abundant and easy to have on hand at all times (I’m looking at you zucchini), I can throw in some fresh produce. This Pasta with Zucchini and Chickpeas is a perfect example of a quick meal that I can make in 15 minutes, any night of the week, all summer long. And, by the way, it is delicious enough that the some of the late-dining grownups couldn’t resist a pasta appetizer, so don’t think this is just a kids meal.

There isn’t really a recipe for this, as much as directions on how to throw it together:

Start by cooking pasta (and here’s how to cook pasta perfectly). Before you drain the pasta, fill a big mug with some of the cooking water. Then you can let the rest pour down the drain.

While the drained pasta (which you will not rinse!) is waiting in the colander, add a bunch of butter—about 4 tablespoons per pound of pasta—and two healthy glugs of olive oil to the now-empty pot. As soon as the butter melts, toss in finely chopped zucchini and a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Stir, season, cook, sizzle.

Return the cooked pasta to the pot, along with a bunch of the cooking water. Don’t skimp: start by adding 3/4 of the mug. The heat should be on medium-high: toss, cook, toss, cook. You want the water, butter and oil, to come together into a thin (but not watery!) sauce that coats the pasta. If you’re afraid that you’ve added too much water, don’t worry, you didn’t. It will cook down into a sauce with time. If you didn’t add enough water, which will give you a greasy sauce or cause the pasta to stick to the pot, add more.

I didn’t have Parmesan on hand so, right before the sauce turned into the perfect consistency, I added a spoonful of sour cream and let it cook into the sauce for the last 2 minutes. You can use yogurt in this way, too, or skip both and finish with Parmesan. If you opt for cheese, be sure to leave the sauce a tiny bit loose and add the cheese after you’ve taken the pasta off of the heat.

Taste and season some more and, just like that, you have a delicious, light yet slightly creamy pasta with veg and protein-rich chickpeas ready to go. Nothing else necessary.


If you’re into pantry cooking, be sure to look at my How to Stock Your Pantry checklists:

How to Stock Your Pantry: Canned & Jarred Staples

How to Stock Your Pantry: Rice, Grains and Pasta

* How to Stock Your Pantry: Fridge and Freezer


One Response

  1. Gugo says:

    I made this banana bread this mnroing and it rose well and smells divine. But it is really really dry. You can’t even cut it with a knife as it just falls apart. I cooked it for 40mins allowing for my oven will try it again and hope it works better. It is such a simple recipe.

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