Pasta e Ceci Alla Romana

Hey, hey, Cookers. How goes it?? I hope this Friday finds you healthy, wealthy and wise.

Last Monday I embarked on a meat-free week to start balancing my Dosha. I also cut back on dairy and I have to admit I felt better mentally, but my body wasn’t pleased. Lots of gas and a bit of jitters here and there. Overall it wasn’t unpleasant and I did feel lighter. The gas was an adjustment period, I think, and it dissipated quickly. Sorry for the TMI.

The main thing I noticed, because I was looking, was my mood. It was pretty even keel all week. Then, Monday, of all days, I ate some red meat and spice, and literally all Chelle broke loose within 15 minutes. I know, right…

So, I knew going in that meat and spices fuel the Pitta fire, but of course I had to test the waters.

I broke my meat fast with chicken on Saturday and I was fine.

Sunday John made a tri-tip so I ate a little (very little) and was ok.

Monday night the bake igniter in the oven went out just before dinner so I went to the little joint down the road and habitually ordered my usual. Cheeseburger. Hot-pepper cheese balls. Relax. I said it was my usual, not that I’m a regular. Big diff!!

I didn’t think anything of it until the next day, but here’s what happened.

Halfway into the meal John asked me a question and I had a mouthful of food. Before he could end the sentence I was feeling the rage. I finished chewing very slowly, got up from the table, wrapped the remainder of my meal up, walked to the trash can and disposed of it. Then on my way to the bedroom to sulk I snapped at him about why he asks so many damn questions and especially “while I have a mouthful of fucking food.” Totally uncalled for. Totally out of left field.

Nope, it wasn’t PMS. That’s happening this week and I’m just fine. It was that meat and pepper cheese. I’m now convinced and there’s no going back. It couldn’t be more obvious. That being said though, I do despise being asked a question while I’m filling my face. Please make a note of it. My food is too good for dinner convo most of the time. I just want to be alone with my plate so I can chew slow and be grateful, not hurry through my bite because someone is waiting for an answer. New age etiquette. Or maybe I just despise all noise these days beside birds chirping and bees humming.

Well, we got past the friction and I went back meat-free to finish this week. I’d had the idea that I’d eat meat on the weekends, but I don’t think so. I’m still in a Sadhana and I’m at the halfway point. You practice in 40 day minimum cycles because the first 20 breaks bad habits and the second 20 instills new and better ones. Well, here we are. I’m at the center of a 90 day practice as we speak.

I’m not putting any labels on myself like, “oh I’m a vegetarian.” In fact, I’ve had enough of labels altogether. It’s like once you put any label on yourself you take your own freedom to change away. Ask me how I know. I’m simply not eating red meat or spicy foods for now. I’m committed to that for the remainder of this Sadhana and I’ll see what happens next.

The recipe I’m sharing today was inspired many, many moons ago by an Italian lady I used to work for in private nursing. I cared for her mother, Mildred while she was in the end stages of her life. Lovely family. I spent lots of time at their home and they taught me to cook authentic, rustic dishes like this one.

“Ceci” is “chickpea” in Italian cooking, thus the name. It’s pronounced “chee chee.”

This dish is filling but not overbearing. It doesn’t have heavy cream sauce or tomatoes, besides a few for color on top. A light lemon juice and olive oil with loads of garlic and other seasonings are what bring the flavor and it really pops.

The roasted chick peas and asparagus take it over the top, but honestly, I could live on the pasta with that light sauce. It tastes like sunshine.

Besides confirming that my Dosha is a big deal and I need to feed it appropriately, I am also having a renewed love affair with pasta. After being on and off the keto train for years, I started to view it as the enemy. Pasta is not my enemy, however I did use half the amount I normally would and I also used a gluten-free, organic version. I felt great having consumed a decent bowl of this because it had so much other goodness within.

Yass, Cookers. I ate alllll that. No tummy ache whatsoever!! Winning.

There are just a few steps to this and it’s super easy. The greatest advantage I’ve found with eating meat free is that time and cleanups are short!! Who doesn’t love that??

Alright. These fur brats have a vet appointment in two and a half hours so lemme get this typed up.

What You Need:

14 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided 2 and 1

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1 bunch asparagus (about 12 stalks) cut into 2-3 inch pieces

1/2 box pasta (I used cavatappi)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp lemon pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Italian seasoning if you so choose, just a pinch or two in the pasta.

3/4 cup pasta water, divided

1/2 cup grated parmigiana reggiano

Garnish with parsley and a few cherry tomatoes.

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 400°.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil.

In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, asparagus, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garlic powder. Toss to coat everything.

Remove the asparagus with tongs and set aside.

Spread the chickpeas on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and parchment.

Maybe crack some fresh pepper over them. I did. Oops. Habit. No pepper for the Pitta. I’ll never get used to this one.

Roast these for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, give them a toss and add asparagus to the roasting pan. Roast another 10-12 minutes.

When the chickpeas and asparagus are just a few minutes shy of being done, get your pasta in the boiling water and rock it until it is al dente.

DON’T FORGET!! Reserve about a cup of starchy cooking liquid.

I’m totally yelling because I forget ALL THE DAMN TIME!!

Shut off the oven but leave the sheet pan there to stay warm.

Add pasta back to the pot along with the lemon juice, remaining oil, red pepper flakes, onion powder, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, remaining garlic powder and kosher salt, fresh garlic and 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss.

Everything should remain hot, but turn the burner on low to finish off the pasta and melt the cheese.

Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and toss again.

Add another 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss until cheese has melted. There’s just enough to give it a bite because too much will glob up into a cheese ball.

Once all that is incorporated, add in asparagus and chickpeas. Toss one more time.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Plate (or bowl) it and top with the remaining cheese, the cherry tomatoes and some fresh parsley.

Smash. Boom. Bang.

Ok, I love you guys. I have to get a smoothie in my belly and get these dogs around for the doc. Then I’m off to grab wall paint for the sacred study, so it’s probably obvi what my weekend looks like. Super excited to get this room done so I can inhabit the sanctuary again!! My bedroom corner is cute and I do Sadhana there, but I need that big space for ZOOM classes and all that school biz.

Let me know in the comments if you want more meatless dishes, or let me know your faves and I’ll try them out.

Look what “Meatless Monday” turned into. And you guys, I’m never going to be the person judging carnivores, so don’t go getting all uptight on me. I love meat. I want to consume lots of animal protein. But I want to be less of a bitch even more. Ayurveda is my personal choice and I’m all about that freedom thing.

Have an amazing weekend!!

Live, love, laugh, Chelle


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission by the owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts or links may be used, provided that full credit is given to Michelle L. Clement or cHELLe ON WHEELS, LLC. with appropriate and specific direction to original content.

5 thoughts on “Pasta e Ceci Alla Romana

  1. Pingback: My Meat-Free Experience, and Unpacking Food Issues – CHELLE ON WHEELS

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