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Author Notes: Who says you need (expensive) meat to have a great dinner? The chickpeas, zucchini and gremolata-infused bread crumbs in this pasta dish make it flavorful, healthy and satisfying. The cost for this hearty meal for four is about $7 – and if you have zucchini and parsley growing in your garden, it's probably under $5!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs made from good-quality bread
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin half moons
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pounds spaghetti
- To make the gremolata breadcrumbs, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet, add half the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, lemon zest and parsley and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until bread crumbs are browned and crispy. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and red pepper flakes, and cook over medium heat, turning frequently with a spatula, until the zucchini is starting to turn golden (about 10 minutes). Add the remaining garlic during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Stir in the chickpeas, lemon juice, salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and then the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the reserved liquid to the zucchini mixture and cook for 2 additional minutes. Combine the pasta and squash, and stir gently. Serve topped with the breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner