It’s been a bit chilly here, and I know that it is all relative—most people would love a daily high temperature of 24 degrees C—but we’ve been indulging in lots of comfort foods and wearing sweat pants. Especially Andy, who is only recently back from field work in PNG, a mere 5 degrees south of the equator and with average ocean temperatures of 28 to 30 degrees C.
One such warm, cosy meal was a chickpea tetrazzini bake. It is based on the recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook but we changed it up based on the veggies in the fridge and opted to make the whole thing pretty chickpea-centric. This is especially easy with a cast iron pan, or any pan that can go from stovetop to oven. This leaves you with just two pans to wash up (one for cooking the pasta). If you don’t have one, just transfer everything into an oiled casserole dish before baking. It was pretty good the way it was, but next time we make it I think we’ll use something like spirals or penne instead of fettuccini, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Chickpea Tetrazzini (makes enough for 6 to 8 serves)
400 grams fettuccini, broken into thirds
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
1 large carrot, diced
2 small blocks frozen spinach
1 T. dried mixed herbs
1 c. chickpea flour (aka besan or gram flour)
4 c. low fat soy milk
½ to 1 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 cups cooked chickpeas
½ c. almond meal
coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper
Heat oven to 180C (350F). Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet, sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add carrot and zucchini, sauté for about 5 minutes. In a jug, stir chickpea flour with about 1 cup of milk. Stir or blend with a stick blender until smooth. Add remaining 3 cups of soy milk to veggies in the skillet, and then add flour mixture and frozen spinach. Stir well, then lower heat to low and continue cooking until thick and bubbly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain well. When the chickpea sauce is nice and thick, add pasta, green peas and chickpeas to the skillet. Stir everything up really well, then smooth down the top. Sprinkle with almond meal, salt and pepper. Bake until the edges start to get crunchy, 35 minutes. Take photos before serving with salad.