Lasagna with Chickpeas
Event: Blogging Marathon #88
Theme: Regional Cuisine
We’ve just got over the Mega Blogging Marathon, I still have so many blog posts to comment on, then there are other group challenges. I nearly did not participate in this month’s BM challenge. However, I remembered that I’m hosting the Kid’s Friendly Event this month where I’ll have the linky tool up by next week for Kids Healthy Drinks. The curious me also wanted to know what the themes were. I thought “just read and get out of the blog post”. Yeah right! Like that is possible–dahhhh! Food Bloggers are quite gullible when it comes to some different kind of themes and challenges. I read regional cuisines and bells began to ring. No don’t, no don’t, too much work my mind kept on saying but still sent an email to Srivalli and voila here I am doing the #88 BM.
Anyway, the regional cuisine for the next three days I’m going to take you to is Italy. My all time favorite cuisine and who says its all about meat and fish? 3 different regions and 3 different dishes.
My first region is CALABRIA REGION… the tip of the Italian boot or the toe of the boot. The Greeks settled along the Calabrian coast long time ago and eventually became a part of the Roman Empire. Quite a bit of the cuisine is influenced by the Greek. The regional bread Pitta, a bit like the Greek Pita, is stuffed with peppers, tomatoes and herbs. Pork is commonly consumed in this region and the coastal people also include fish in their daily diet. The cheese from this region is usually made from sheep’s milk. It is also famous for licorice. Nowadays its very famous for organic farming. You can’t miss olive trees in this region.
The dish I chose from this region is Lasagna with Chickpeas (the Greek influence). The lasagna is not prepared in the style that people world over know it as – layered and baked. Its a bit different and the flavors of the herbs used makes this a delectable dish. Served as a first course, I was full by the time I finished it. That’s what really amused me when I went to Italy. Everywhere else in the world pasta is usually as the main dish on the menu but in Italy its first course. Then comes the main dish. Can’t imagine going through main course after gorging on a pasta dish!
Easy to make and so different from the usual pasta dishes I make. Although home made pasta is the preferred pasta, I used ready made. Another alternate dish that is famous in the region is ribbon pasta with chickpeas, garlic and olive oil.
LASAGNA WITH CHICKPEAS
For the pasta:
8 sheets of lasagna
plenty of water
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
For the chickpea mixture:
1½ cups cooked white chickpeas
¼ cup finely chopped celery (the stalks only)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1-2 fronds of fresh fennel, chopped( the green leaves)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp fennel seeds
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp oil olive
For the sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
2 cups fresh tomato puree
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp mixed herbs or oregano
1 bay leaf
some parmesan cheese
Preparation of the chickpeas mixture:
- Add olive oil in a pan and place it over medium heat.
- Add fennel seeds, garlic and celery.
- Saute till the celery becomes a bit soft.
- Add the mushrooms. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add chickpeas, salt, pepper and the chopped fresh fennel.
- Mix well.
- The the pan off the heat. Don’t over cook otherwise the mixture will become watery.
Preparation of the sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and stir fry till it becomes soft and turns light brown in colour.
- Add garlic and bay leaf and stir.
- Add tomato puree and mix.
- Cover the pan and let the sauce simmer over low heat till it becomes thick. Remember to stir it occasionally so that it does not stick to the pan.
- When the sauce becomes thick, add salt, sugar, pepper, oregano and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat.
Preparation of the pasta:
- Bring plenty of water to boil in a wide big pan.
- Add some salt and olive oil.
- Add the lasagna sheets and cook as per the instructions on the packet.
- Mine took 5 minutes.
- Remove the pasta with slotted spoon and place it on a greased tray or plate.
- Cut the cooked pasta into big squares.
- Layer some pasta in the serving plate.
- Spoon the chickpea mixture over it.
- Top it up with some tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle cheese over it and serve.
- Alternately, mix the pasta and chickpea mixture together and plate it.
- Top it with sauce and cheese. Serve.
- If you make the pasta at home then you should cut it into squares before boiling it. I had to cut the lasagna after boiling it as I used ready made.
- The Mediterranean flavor in this dish comes from the fresh fennel and fennel seeds used.
- To make a nice thick red sauce, I usually steam or boil the tomatoes first and puree it with as little water as possible. I usually don’t remove the skin as I want added fibre. You can remove the skin if you want to. Then I use the pureed tomato to make the sauce.
You may want to check out other Pasta dishes:
Sending this recipe to the following event: