Pasta with Merci di Cresta Pesto Rucola, Cauliflower and Chickpeas
A vegetable filled pasta dinner that's full of so much fresh arugula, it almost feels like eating a salad. In a good way.
1-4.5 oz jar Merci di Cresta Pesto Rucola (Arugula Pesto) **
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup drained capers, patted dry
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut in small florets
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1-14 oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
6 cups baby arugula
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided.
- 8 oz gemelli, or other medium pasta
- Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
- Top with finely grated Parmigiano
Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high. Add capers and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until they burst and are crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer capers to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reserve oil in skillet.
- Cook cauliflower in the same skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook until both begin to brown, about 3 more minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. Cover and cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Uncover and increase to medium and add 2 tbsp. butter, and remaining 2 tbsp. oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and chickpeas are lightly browned, about 2 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
- Remove skillet from heat and add the Pesto Rucola, lemon juice and lemon zest, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Add drained pasta, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until coated.
- Divide arugula and pasta among bowls, stirring to combine. Top with reserved crispy capers and grated Parmigiano.
For crispier vegetables, the cauliflower and chickpeas and garlic can be roasted in an oven-safe skillet at 400 degrees oven or air-fryer basket for 20 minutes, or until tender and golden, then return to the stovetop to toss with butter, pesto and pasta.
** contains cashews