When my left over uncooked tuna wasn’t smelling fresh I had to come up with another last minute dinner plan. I was going to cook an Indian Tomato Sauce recipe I saw in Mark Bittman’s, How to Cook Everything, but realized I didn’t have 2 key ingredients. Yikes, the dinner hour was fast approaching and I still was unsure of what to cook. I had so many ideas but too little time and not always all the ingredients. But what I did have was an overabundance of tomatoes (in different colors and sizes) so I knew I wanted to do something with them. Since I had so many, I thought I could prep some for cooking before they get bad, so I removed the skins and seeds then crushed them.
An easy way of removing tomato skins is to blanch them for a minute in boiling water. First slit the skin then pop into the water. Remove and place in ice bath. Once cool enough to handle, take a paring knife and peel the skin off… it’ll come right off. You’re not cooking the tomatoes, just softening the skin so it peels off like paper. After cutting out the center core around where the stem base meets the tomato, I put them in a sieve and removed the meat; letting the juices drip into a bowl beneath. I push remaining juice/pulp through the sieve with a spatula and put all the meat into the bowl with juices. Now you can finish with a potato masher or an immersion blender to crush or purée the tomatoes, I used a masher.
Finally after much contemplation I decided on a pasta with tomatoes, chickpeas and beet greens. I had steamed the beet greens a couple of days ahead because they were starting to wilt and I didn’t want to miss their peak freshness. I did this with kale and bok choy too. Just steam or boil and cool immediately when just done. Put in fridge and when you’re ready for dinner, this can come out of the fridge, plopped into a pan and reheated with desired seasoning. You can freeze vegetables this way too.
Pasta with Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Beet Greens
- 1 can chickpeas (or equivalent)
- 1 bunch of beet greens
- 3-4 tomatoes- peeled, seeded and chopped or crushed
- 1 shallot- chopped
- 2 garlic cloves- minced
- Handful of fresh basil- chopped
- Handful of fresh parsley- chopped
- Olive oil
Prepare pasta according to directions. Prep beet greens— clean, remove stems, cut into 1 inch wide strips and either steam or keep raw. Sauté garlic and shallot in olive oil. Mix in crushed tomatoes, chickpeas and beet greens. If the beet greens are raw, cover and steam for a couple of minutes. Add herbs. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix together with pasta. Salt and Pepper to taste. Add parmesan cheese if you wish.
I used farfalle (bowtie pasta) that my youngest picked out at the supermarket. On the side I gave them corn on the cob. This can be taken off the cob and put into pasta as well.
I wasn’t sure how they’d like it. My 3 year old didn’t want to eat the chickpeas even though he loves hummus and I explained that’s what it’s made from. The middle son whined and said he wasn’t going to eat it but proceeded to eat it anyway. My 8 year old loved it.
If you notice that’s sort of the pattern with our family. It shows that persevering will give the intended results (not all of the time, but usually). Keep giving it to them even when they complain or say they won’t eat it. Have them try it and eventually the may eat it and love it too!