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!
extra virgin olive oil
fresh bread crumbs made from good-quality bread
grated zest of 1 lemon
chopped flat-leaf parsley
medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin half moons
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.