Is anyone running a marathon at the weekend? There is little to no overlap between those who read a cooking blog and unapologetically use butter and those who run 26.2 miles as a personal challenge. A few friends are running this weekend, and they love cooking as much as I do. Since they are always running, I’m sure they do dishes when they don’t have to be chased. They also go to bed early to wake up less cranky the next day. Weirdos.

We can reach common ground, affectionately known as “carbo loading.” It’s something runners do before significant races. We do it to stay warm in winter. Or we’re hungover. We may have overeaten salad or are trying to achieve balance. When it comes to carboloading, this spaghetti with chickpeas is the best. The potato pizza of pasta, the squash risotto comfort food, and the breadcrumb-topped macaroni and cheese from the archives of So Good It Couldn’t Possibly Be BAD!

This recipe was recommended in an article by Michael White, a New York chef who owns three of the best Italian restaurants in New York City. It is aptly called carboloading. Despite disliking overly-sauced dishes, I wanted to make almost twice as much of this recipe. Below, I’ve suggested that. We still enjoyed it. I had a bowl of cereal that made me feel like I’d just eaten a pizza, and I got as much sleep as the tiny Master of House would allow. I woke up feeling energized. It’s almost like the marathoners have figured out something!

Spaghetti With Chickpeas [Spaghetti Con Ceci

As I said above, although I prefer pasta dishes that have less sauce and not more, I would be happy to eat this dish with up to two times as much sauce. The sauce in my dish reduced considerably during the 20 minutes it was simmered uncovered. If it’s not just me, I will share the recipe exactly as it is written. However, double it if you look at the pictures and think it could use more love in the chickpea-based sauce. You could also halve the amount of pasta or reduce it by two-thirds, but would that make for a fun meal?

NYM says four serves are a main course, 8 is a first course, or “2 to three marathoners”.

Chickpeas: 15 ounces rinsed and drained canned chickpeas or 2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas 1/2 cup chicken stock
Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups pancetta diced (less than 2 ounces).
One medium onion thinly sliced
Four cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Pinch chile flake
Chop one 14-ounce can of tomatoes
10 to 15 basil leafs
Salt is a taste.
1 Pound spaghetti
Enjoy the taste of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

Set aside 1/3 cup of chickpeas. Combine remaining chickpeas and chicken stock in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times until the chickpeas have been chopped.

Add olive oil to a large pot and diced pancetta. Place over medium heat. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned. A splatter screen will make your stove appear better than mine. Add the onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Cook until the onions and garlic become translucent (about 5 to 8 min).

Let the mixture simmer for 20 min. Salt to taste. Bring a large pot with salted water to boil while the sauce cooks. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is al dente or needs an extra minute of cooking. Drain the remaining pasta water, but reserve one cup. Mix pasta, chickpeas, and half the water with chickpea paste until well coated. This should take about a minute. If the sauce is still too thick, add pasta water as necessary. Serve with grated Parmesan and season again as needed.

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