When we’re not dreaming of a summer vacation in Italy, we’re noshing on this simple side of chickpeas with braised summer vegetables and basil from The Italian Deli Cookbook: 100 Glorious Recipes Celebrating the Best of Italian Ingredients by Theo Randall.
“Jarred chickpeas are much tastier than [canned],” Randall says in his cookbook. “Sweet in flavor, they are always perfectly cooked already, so treat them carefully, otherwise they can become too soft and mushy.” You can find jarred chickpeas at specialty Italian groceries, but canned will work in a pinch. (Or, if you have the time, start from dried.)
This dish also calls for tomato passata, which is similar to tomato purée but thinner and brighter, since it’s not cooked down. You can buy it in many well-stocked grocery stores (or online), or substitute tomato purée.
Recipe excerpted with permission from The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall, published by Quadrille, March 2021.
Chickpea and Vegetable Coconut Curry
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large scallions—trimmed, halved lengthways and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into ½-inch lengths
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into ½-inch half-moons
14 ounces tomato passata
One 20-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the sliced scallions and cook gently for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, yellow peppers and zucchini. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt, then partly cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until softened, checking about every 5 minutes and stirring with a wooden spoon, 18 to 20 minutes.
2. Remove the lid and add the passata. Cook over low heat until the passata has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook gently until married with the sauce, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the torn basil and remaining tablespoon of olive oil; taste for seasoning and serve.