The lovely Kathryn of Limes and Lycopene certainly does enjoy challenging her readers. Last month she blogged daily on 31 Ways To Improve Your Diet encouraging us to change or think about just one area of our diet each day in order to (in many cases) completely overhaul our bad eating habits. And now this month she has introduced the Store Cupboard Challenge asking us to come up with complete meals using only the following store cupboard staples:
- Olive oil
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned legumes or beans
- Soy sauce
- Frozen vegetables
- Tinned fish
- Fresh onions
- One spice or spice mix
- One dried herb or herb mix
At first I was utterly flummoxed. Having a fairly productive herb and vegetable garden has spoilt me: I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have fresh produce at hand. Plus there are always lemons and garlic in my kitchen, not to mention sausages in my freezer. But rules are rules and Miss Kathryn was quite clear on this:
You don’t have to use all the ingredients but your recipes must only use these foods. No tweaking the list and no adding in extra sneaky ingredients. The point is for us to come up with a diversity of dishes from the same list.
So, no cheating then.
After some thought I realised that all the ingredients were there for a pasta dish that I have been making for years: pasta e ceci AKA pasta and chickpeas. This meal was introduced to me by an Austrian-Italian friend, Annalisa when I was just beginning to take an interest in cooking. Couldn’t believe that something so simple could taste so very, very good.
Pasta e Ceci
(serves 3 to 4)
1 tblspn olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 tspn oregano
1/4 tspn chilli flakes
400g tin of chickpeas
2 x 400g tin of tomatoes
300g pasta (I like wholewheat penne)
- Gently fry the onion in the oil until beginning to soften.
- Add the oregano and chilli and fry for a minute more.
- Add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water.
- Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. Season to taste.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.