"Thunder and Lightning"

Orecchiette with Fried Chickpeas & Black Pepper

"Thunder" refers to the profusion of fried chickpeas, and "lightning to the excessive amount of cracked black pepper. All are tossed with pasta, cheese and sage. I like to use orecchiette (little ears) but bowties are nice as well. You can cook up your own chickpeas or drain a 16-ounce can (rinse the chickpeas and dry well.)

12 ounces orecchiette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
1 cup good-quality chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely-cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Chop garlic fine and add to pan with chickpeas. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until chickpeas begin to pop. Add sage, chicken broth and cracked pepper. Lower heat and let broth reduce by one-quarter, about 15 minutes.

Drain pasta in a colander. Transfer pasta to a large warm bowl. Add butter and stir. Add contents of pan (chickpeas and broth) and toss well. Add salt to taste and half of the cheese. Divide evenly in warm bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Serves 4

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© Rozanne Gold