Preserved Lemon with Chickpeas and Parsley Pesto
- 8 ounces pasta of choice
- ⅓ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
- 15 ounce can of chickpeas, thoroughly drained
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 2 quarters preserved lemon, chopped (equal to 1/2 lemon; substitute zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice if no preserved lemons on hand)
- ⅓ cup reserved pasta water
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. 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.
2. 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 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.