30 Minute Meal

Penne with Broccoli Rabe, Bacon, and Chickpeas

Um, so I just realized that I am moving next week! I have a house full of boxes, but only my books are packed so far. I should probably start working on that. This is the part of moving that I don’t like. I don’t mind actually moving the boxes, and I love finding new homes for things and arranging a new house. But I don’t like to pack. Bit by bit, the house gets emptier. Pictures and memories are taken down. Nooks and crannies have to be scrubbed clean. You can’t find anything, because the moment you pack something is the moment you need it. Anyone want to come help? 🙂

I know I have said it before, but I’m going to say it again (and probably a few more times after this). But it is hard to eat healthy and delicious food, and be a carb-loving girl. Because I do, I loooove carbs, and pasta is one of my all time favorites! When I first saw this recipe, I didn’t think much of it. I mean, there’s no sauce. It just looks like a plate of naked noodles with some beans and broccoli thrown in! But after I read the recipe I became intrigued. Because this recipe includes both pasta and bacon, and then you sauté the chickpeas, broccoli and garlic in the bacon drippings. And its still healthy? Um, sign me up! The first few bites of this were kind of lackluster for us (wait, don’t go away!) but we are still in full allergy mode. After a few shakes of some red pepper flakes, we felt like we could breath, and taste again, and all the sudden, we really really liked this dish! All three of us went back for seconds. And the best part? Leftovers taste awesome the next day – the bacon just totally infuses every bite. Take a bite of broccoli and all you can taste is bacon? Who won’t love that?!

Penne with Broccoli Rabe, Bacon, and Chickpeas (Cooking Light, September 2010)
1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and coarsely chopped
8 ounces uncooked penne or similarly shaped pasta
6 slices center cut bacon
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (15 ounce) no salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Optional: red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add the broccoli rabe and cook for two minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well (keep the water!!!)
Coarsely chop the broccoli.
Return the water to a boil and add the pasta (yes, to the broccoli water!)
Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
Drain the pasta when done, reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta water.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp.
Remove the bacon and crumble.
Reserve 1 TBSP of the bacon grease in the pan, into which you will add the garlic and chickpeas.
Sautee 2 minutes, or until the garlic is golden.
Stir in the broccoli, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Cook3 minutes or until the broccoli is heated through.
Stir in the pasta, 3/4 cup pasta water and bacon.
Toss well, and serve with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if desired.


  • Reply
    May 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    HI, my name is Dana, and I too am addicted to carbs. This looks delicious & 10 points for it being healthy too. Nice work!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    This looks fabulous! I never would have thought to have chickpeas and pasta together. I have definitely pinned it for meal inspiration for later use!

    • Reply
      May 4, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Oh, yay! Let me know if you like it, I would love to hear! 🙂

  • Reply
    [Ness] Six One and Then Some
    May 3, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    I love it when healthy things masquerade as not-so-healthy things by being delicious 🙂 Also, baconbaconbaconbaconbaconbaconbaconbaconbacon!!! What can I say – I love the stuff!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Hi there, this is a really nice post. It would be great if you linked to it in my Food on Friday series. Food on Friday – Bacon

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