Recipe #1: Mac n Cheese with Leftovers

Tonight called for comfort food

chickpeas are friends

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 can leftover chickpeas (they don’t need to be leftover, but mine were. They just can’t still be dry)
  • half an average-sized bag of pasta shells
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic (or the equivalent in minced, jarred garlic), finely chopped or garlic-pressed
  • about 8 large green garlic-stuffed olives that have been sitting in my fridge for quite a long time, but half a cup of any chopped olives will do. It’s time for that jar in the back of the pantry to shine.
  • red pepper flakes, rosemary, savory
  • (but really just flavor with whatever spices you like. I was feeling heat and herbs tonight.)
  • A sharp cheese, a melty cheese, and a gooey cheese. For me this was pecorino, deli-sliced muenster, and trader joe’s goat gouda, respectively. Just use what you’ve got, it doesn’t need to be 3 cheeses. I think I added 1.5 cups total, but see below for further instructions
  • salted pasta water. lots and lots of pasta water. about half of the water in the pot.
  • About 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter

Salt your water lovingly. Start boiling the water in a pot and heating up oil and butter in a large pan on high heat. When the oil+butter are bubbling, add the sliced onions. While the onions are cooking, peel the garlic (I smash them with the flat side of a knife and the skin comes right off). When the onions start to brown, add garlic (either finely chopped or squeezed with a garlic press or from a jar). Reduce to low heat, but not lowest heat. Wait a few minutes and then add the chickpeas. If canned, it is completely ok for there to be a little can-juice that comes out. Chop the olives. At this point, my water started boiling, so add the pasta when that happens. Add the olives to the pan. While you wait for the pasta to become almost-al dente, clean up a little and make sure your cheese is in small enough pieces to melt. I recommend shredding. When the pasta is almost al dente, turn off the heat but -do not- drain the water yet. Add about a cup of pasta water to the pan. Drain the water in the sink, but don’t do a great job of it. Pour the watery pasta into the large pan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir for a few minutes until it starts to thicken slightly, then start stirring in your cheeses adding a bit at a time. Keep adding cheese until you like the consistency of the sauce, then add whatever herbs and spices your heart desires.

Gonna have another bowl now. Hope this gives you ideas and let me know if you try it! Especially let me know if there’s an unexpected pantry item you managed to incorporate.

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