Pasta with tuna and capers, enriched with pine nuts and lemon - a dish which tastes of the sea and summer! One of the secrets of this dish is the pasta made from chickpea flour. A great alternative to normal pasta, and not just for those with a gluten intolerance.
The chickpea as pasta: a revelation
Chickpeas (ceci in Italian) have been part of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. The healthy pulses are also veritable climate protectors: they prefer to grow in nutrient-poor soil and need little water. In Italy, for example, their flour is used to make the well-known farinata, a flat bread baked in a wood-fired oven. Processing the flour into various types of pasta is a relatively new idea that many pasta producers are embracing today. For me, a real revelation!
The making of
Chickpea flour is often combined with wholemeal rice, which gives the pasta some advantages. It is gluten-free, and rich in vegetable protein, carbohydrates and fibre. However, not all chickpea pasta holds its shape and can be cooked al dente.
A few cooking tips
Pasta di ceci has a slightly shorter cooking time than durum wheat pasta. The pasta is cooked as usual: 1 l of water and 10 g of salt per 100 g of pasta. Since it is a pulse, 60-70 g pasta per person is sufficient. The foam on the cooking water, which is typical for pulses, should be skimmed off; the dish will then be more digestible. For minestrone or other soup, cook the pasta separately and add it to the liquid shortly before serving.
The right sauces
The pasta should be mixed with the sauce immediately after cooking, otherwise it will stick together more easily. The sweet taste of the chickpeas harmonises well with accompaniments such as steamed or roasted vegetables. They also taste great as pastafredda with crisp cherry tomatoes and basil. However, I think that cooked tomato sauces are too tangy for this pasta. A tip for a quick meal: pasta di ceci with a green or red pesto of your choice. Fish, shellfish or crustaceans are also delicious accompaniments.
Chickpea fusilli with tuna and capers
- 250 g chickpea pasta, rigatoni or other short pasta
- 40 g pine nuts
- olive oil
- 1 fillet anchovy
- 1 teaspoon capers
- 250 g tuna, in oil
- 1-2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon zest, untreated
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (check the package instructions for cooking time); continually remove any foam that collects on the surface of the water with a spoon.
- Fry the pine nuts in a non-stick frying pan until golden brown and set aside.
- Wash the capers and pat dry. In a pan, lightly fry the chopped anchovy fillet and the capers in olive oil. As soon as the anchovy fillet falls apart, add the tuna without oil and the chopped parsley and mix for one minute over a moderate heat.
- Strain the pasta well and mix with the sauce. Serve immediately warm, and finish with the pine nuts and some freshly grated lemon zest.