In last week’s meal plan, this dish was planned for dinner one evening. The recipe is originally from Vegetable Heaven, by Mollie Katzen. I’ve been making this since college (15 years now!) and it’s been a dish that everyone I’ve served it to has enjoyed. The ingredients don’t necessarily seem like they’d meld and so maybe that’s why each time you make it it feels like such a happy accident. Most of what’s needed in the recipe are items that keep for a long time in the pantry, too, which is another reason this is such a favorite!
The original recipe calls for fresh mozzarella but I generally use the Galbani or Sorrento packaged mozzarella instead. We tried it with the fresh mozzarella and found it to be too stringy. If you enjoy that, then feel free to substitute. The hominy might seem a little odd, but it really makes the recipe! Don’t leave it out. You can find it with the canned corn and other canned vegetables in the grocery store. Bush’s is the brand I most commonly see here, but there are several companies that produce it. It will look like this:
Another reason I really like this dish is that I can prepare it almost to done in the morning and then whoever is at home at the right time can boil the pasta and toss it with the marinating beans & cheese. Roasted veggies are an easy accompaniment and can also be prepared ahead of time. I chop them, toss them with oil and seasoning and then toss in a zipper bag. Everything is ready to go right in the oven/pot when you get home from work or other engagements.
Pasta Shells with Chickpeas & Hominy
—Adapted from Vegetable Heaven, by Mollie Katzen
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 1 15 oz. can hominy, rinsed & drained
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 T. minced or pressed garlic
- 4 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1 t. salt
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or use a mix of oregano, thyme & dried basil)
- 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
- 3/4 – 1 lb medium pasta shells (I prefer the smaller amount; the larger amount will stretch the recipe to another serving or two)
- 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
- coarsely chopped fresh parsley
In the morning, or a few hours before dinner: In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, hominy, olive oil, garlic, seasoning, balsamic vinegar, salt & mozzarella cheese. Stir a few times to combine and thoroughly coat with olive oil & vinegar. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. Room temperature is best, but the fridge will work too if you will be gone for a long time. The cheese might not be as melty, though.
In the evening: remove bowl from fridge, if this is where you have been storing it. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta as instructed on box. Drain pasta and toss with marinated beans & cheese. Toss again with fresh parsley. Serve with additional balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze (reduced balsamic vinegar).