Feel like you missed autumn? Summer went straight into winter? Time flies, and sometimes I feel like I missed the peak season for certain fruits and vegetables. I keep missing peach season although we had a few this year. I also missed prime tomato time, perhaps because I was distracted by summer exams. In any case, have no fear. Canned tomatoes are possibly the best way to make sure you have flavourful tomatoes.
Oddly enough, I first encountered Arrabiata sauce while travelling in South Africa. It was a premade sauce that I added to a can of lentils with delicious results. A bit spicy, a lot tomatoey, it worked well with the hearty lentils. However, by the time I returned to Canada, I figured a pasta sauce deserved some pasta.
I made a huge batch of Ricki’s Arrabiata sauce and used it in two non-traditional ways: paired with soba noodles and also paired with zucchini noodles with chickpeas and nutritional yeast. I liked both versions although the zucchini noodles remind me more of the summer than soba noodles.
Next time, I think I will puree the sauce and add a bunch of lentils. Topped with nutritional yeast, it was a great meal, too.
Pasta Arrabiata with Chickpeas and Zucchini Noodles
Adapted from Ricki Heller
1 tbsp olive oil or oil of choice
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes, or to taste
28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
28 oz can crushed (puréed) tomatoes
fine sea salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1.5-2 cups cooked chickpeas
pasta of your choice: for example 4 large zucchinis
nutritional yeast, to serve
1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Once hot, add onion and saute until the onion is browned and translucent, around 10 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and cook until softened, around 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, around 1 minute more. Add in the tomatoes and turn the heat up to high, bringing it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil. Consider using an blender to remove the chunks. The sauce may be frozen.
2. To serve, place warmed pasta sauce overtop noodles of choice. Stir in chickpeas if desired and top with nutritional yeast.