Dinner Tonight: Mollie Katzen's Pasta Shells with Chickpeas and Arugula


[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]



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Though uncooked pasta sauces sound spectacularly easy, pulling them off isn't as easy as you'd think. Most versions come off bland and watery. Add fresh mozzarella to the mix, and you might end up with a gloopy mess of half-melted nuggets of mozz, which stick to the pasta like laffy taffy. But leave it to Mollie Katzen to figure it all out. This recipe from Get Cooking starts with a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette, before mozzarella and chickpeas are added. This mixture is set aside for 30 minutes, allowing for all the flavors to mingle. At this point, you could serve this with some crusty bread and be done.

But the pasta and arugula add an interesting twist. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, it is added to the bowl, and arugula is folded in a handful at a time. After a few seconds, the arugula wilts from the heat of the pasta—or, I should say that it slightly wilts, as the arugula manages to keep some of its crunchy, peppery integrity. At this point, the dish is ready to go, and can be served at once. But you can also set it aside and let it come to room temperature, where it functions as something of an amazing pasta salad.

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Pasta Shells with Chickpeas and Arugula »