One-Pot Moroccan Pasta

My biggest helper for finding recipes these days is Facebook. I kid you not. I subscribe to a couple of different sites that share all sorts of fun recipes. Current favorites are Tasting Table and Bon Appetit.  If a recipe they share looks interesting, it gets pinned to the appropriate board on Pinterest. Believe it or not, I actually do go back to those boards when meal planning. If a recipe works out well (like this one did), it's kept and maybe notes are made. If it was not good, it gets deleted.

This past week I was feeling more in the mood for vegetarian and vegan options for meals. Monday night was vegetable coconut curry. For Tuesday, I chose a recipe from Tasting Table for Moroccan Linguini. The tag line was "turn a fragrant chickpea stew into a one-pot pasta meal." Um, okay. Sold.

This recipe had me purchasing freekeh for the first time. Freekeh (free-kah) is an ancient grain, and it is young, green wheat. Therefore gluten free friends, this is not the grain for you. However, diabetic friends, it is low on the glycemic index. When I looked this grain up, I found out I'm on trend! What?! When does THAT happen? Turns out, that aside from the non-gluten-free part of freekeh, it is poised to knock quinoa off the top spot for good-for-you-grains! Who knew?! I will say it added a great texture to this dish, and I look forward to finding new ways to use it. One of my fellow health-conscious Mamas said she uses it as a side, much like rice.

Now, one note about this dish. The "one-pot" got me all excited. Who doesn't love an easy one-pot meal during the week? Full disclosure: it took me about 45 minutes from start to stock in the pot to get the stew going. The stew needs to cook about 1 1/2 hours before you add the lemon juice and pasta. Therefore, either make the stew ahead, or do this on a night where you can get started pretty early. The house smelled AMAZING while this was cooking, and the end dish was delicious. We've also all decided that we will no longer be purchasing canned chickpeas as the result when making them in their dried state was delicious. Having all ingredients prepped and ready is the way to go here, and part of what took me a little longer. Of course, stopping to take pictures might have added a few minutes...

The ingredients are pretty straight forward, other than finding freekeh (organic aisle at my local super market chain), everything else I either had, or knew where to find. You need one 6 quart pot, although that pot was VERY full. Next time I might go up a size. As mentioned above, start by getting your ingredients gathered and prepped. 

This dish will go best when your mis en place game is on point.

What I failed to say so far is that your chickpeas and freekeh need to soak overnight. The packaging for the freekeh didn't say so, but the recipe did, so into the pot with the chickpeas it went! Before adding these to the stew, I rinsed them through a fine mesh strainer. 


Soaked freekeh and chickpeas

The stew starts with a lot of oil (1/2 cup), fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and one jalapeño. Right away the smell is fabulous. After they've cooked a bit, you add tumeric and cumin. Next, into the pot go the waiting and prepped vegetables. 



That cooks for about 15 minutes until everything is fragrant and cooked down a bit, then you add the chickpeas and freekeh, along with 8 cups of stock and 4 cups of water. It didn't say in the recipe, but here is where I added a good bit of kosher salt and some black pepper.



Once the stew cooks for about 1 1/2 hours, check a chickpea to make sure they're done, add 6 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 pound linguini. This next part is a bit of a workout. The linguini is not going to cook as fast as normal, the stew and pasta water will thicken, making a delicious and yet hard to stir pot of pasta! Hang in there though, the result is very worth it!



Moroccan Linguini

Recipe adapted from Nir Mesika, Timna, New York, NY, found on Tasting  Table

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


Ingredients
½ cup canola oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño pepper—stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¼ cup celery leaves, roughly chopped
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1 cup freekeh, soaked overnight and drained
8 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound dry linguini pasta
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. In a 6-quart pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic, jalapeño and ginger, and cook until lightly golden, 2 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and cumin, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the celery leaves, tomatoes, carrot, and white and red onions. Sauté the vegetables until tender and lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

2. Add the soaked chickpeas and freekeh, and cover with the vegetable stock and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the chickpeas and freekeh are tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the lemon juice and dried linguini to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 14 to 16 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls and garnish with more cilantro, then serve.





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