To sauce or not to sauce…that is the question. Personally, I have never taken a shine to living by the rules, particularly when it comes to what I do in my own kitchen. Sure, some things just make sense – never forgetting salt, for instance – but I think this whole business of telling me that I need to use less sauce on my pasta, cause that’s how they do it in Italy, is kind of pretentious. Sure, as Mark Bittman says in the NY Times article, it made sense to guide the public in this way 20 or 30 years ago, when Americans were drowning their overcooked pasta in sugar-filled Ragu from a jar. But as a nation, we’ve grown (in more ways than one), and if in this example, our American tendencies are pointing us to the healthier route (more veggie-full sauce, less starchy pasta), then I say God Bless the USA. Besides, it’s usually yummier.

Farfalle w/ Garbanzo Beans & Broccoli Rabe
adapted from the Mark Bittman recipe
serves 2

1/4 pound farfalle
1 can chick peas/garbanzos – rinsed
1/2 bunch broccoli rabe
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepperoncino flakes
1/8 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano


Step 1:  Set a large pot of water to boiling, salt it well, and parboil the broccoli rabe for 3 minutes.  Remove the broccoli, return the water to a boil, and add your pasta to the same pot.  Step 2:  In a separate pan over medium heat, sautee the garlic and pepperoncino flakes in olive oil.  Add the broccoli rabe, then after a few minutes, add the garbanzo beans. 


Step 3:  When the pasta is not quite al dente, add it to the other pan, along with a small scoop of the pasta cooking water, and large dash of chicken stock.  Salt & pepper the mixture, stir, and allow to cook until the pasta is al dente.  Top with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, and serve.


It’s recipes like this one that remind me of the way I used to eat on a regular basis before I met my husband.  Back then, I probably only ate meat once or twice a week.  Mark Bittman also used chopped tomato in his version, and didn’t use chicken stock, but I worked with what I had on hand, and I think that’s the whole point here.  Sauteeing a large amount of healthy stuff and tossing it with just a little bit of pasta.  Of course, I did end up eating this entire recipe by myself, over the course of 3 hours…but hey, it’s my house.  I can do what I want.