So, y'all guessed everything except #1. Drumroll, please...
The mystery ingredient: fresh chickpeas. They have them at the Winchester Farmer's Market right now, and may I suggest you go grab a few handfuls. The fresh ones, as opposed to the dried or canned kind you normally find, have a sweetness much like English peas, they are bright green with a hearty texture. They were such a wonderful a treat that now I know I'll pick them up any time I spot them.
I paired the fresh chickpeas with roasted red peppers and garlic to create this sweet and smoky pasta dish. If you wish to make the pasta follow these simple instructions, then just cut the pasta sheets into strips using a pasta roller or a pizza cutter.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1 large shallot (diced)
3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 cup white wine
zest from one lemon (I used a Meyer)
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon sugar
2 roma tomatoes (peeled, diced)
2 roasted red peppers (pulsed in the food processor)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
sea salt & crushed black pepper
In a pan over medium heat, sauté the shallot and garlic until shallot is translucent. Mix the wine, zest, thyme, and sugar together; use that mixture to deglaze the pan. Reduce mixture until thick then add tomatoes, red peppers, tomato paste, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until tomatoes melt into the sauce. Add more olive oil near the end for richness. (Use the pasta water to regulate the consistency.)
2 servings fresh pasta
roasted red pepper sauce
1/2 cup shelled chickpeas
Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil. Blanch the chickpeas for 20-30 seconds or until they start to float. Remove and set aside. Cook pasta then transfer the noodles to the pan containing the red pepper sauce. Toss noodles in the sauce. Divide noodles between two plates and garnish with chickpeas, parsley, and parmesan.