Creamy Tomato + Saffron Chickpeas with Black Pepper Almonds
Beans alla Vodka with Black Pepper Almonds
Rosie is an incredible food writer, and you may have seen some of her delicious creations in The Guardian, Spectator and Grazia. She has recently started a brand new Substack called "A Lot on Her Plate" where you can find the bulk of her recipes, general chatter and writing from here on in: subscribe here.
This recipe is a take on her vodka rigatoni but we've used our plump, juicy Queen Chickpeas instead of pasta which soak up that indulgent sauce - and because of this richness, we recommend serving with some charred broccoli and a good squeeze of lemon for some freshness.
1 medium white onion, peeled and finely sliced
A pinch of chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin of plum tomatoes
½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in 3 tbsp boiling water for at least 15 min
1 x 700g jar of Bold Bean Co Queen Chickpeas with their bean stock
A handful of grated parmesan
60g skin-on whole almonds
½ tsp ground black pepper
A good pinch of dried sage, thyme or oregano
2 tsp maple syrup
200g tenderstem broccoli
Focaccia or ciabatta
For the Black Pepper Almonds
Heat the oven to 180C (200C non-fan) and toss the almonds into a small roasting tray. Coat with a wisp of olive oil, the black pepper, herbs, maple syrup and a good pinch of sea salt, and roast in the oven for 8-10 min, until crispy and fragrant. Roughly chop and put in a bowl for later.
To make your sauce, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion, chilli flakes and a big pinch of sea salt. Season well with black pepper and cook, stirring, for about 5-6 min, until the onion is softening and turning translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree, turn up the heat slightly and stir to coat the other ingredients. Cook for 2 min or so, stirring every so often.
Pour over the tinned tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any crust from the pan, then cook for a few more minutes, crushing the tomatoes into the other ingredients and minimising any chunks. Cook the tomatoes for a good 2-3 min more, to reduce them, then pour in the vodka and cook off the alcohol.
Meanwhile, toss the tenderstem broccoli into a roasting tray with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 5-6 minutes or until nicely charred.
Pour over the saffron and its water plus the cream, then stir to combine. Pour in the chickpeas with their bean stock and stir to combine - you want it looking glossy and lush. Taste the sauce at this point and add a pinch of salt or sugar if you think it needs it.
Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes, just to let the chickpeas warm through, then grate in a good, generous handful of parmesan, stirring to melt it into the sauce. Divide between warm bowls and top with the crispy black pepper almonds.