Garden Vegetable Sauce with Chickpeas
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
3 onions, minced
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced ¼ inch thick
8 garlic cloves, minced
teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1¼ cups dried chickpeas (8 ounces), picked over and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 zucchini (8 ounces), quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 tomatoes (12 ounces), cored and cut into ½inch pieces
6 ounces baby spinach (6 cups)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce), plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 cup broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
Stir water, chickpeas, remaining cup broth and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chickpeas are tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.
Stir in zucchini, cover and cook on high until tender, 20-30 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in tomatoes and spinach and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan. Before serving, season with salt, pepper, additional extra-virgin olive oil and additional Parmesan to taste.
Makes six cups; enough for 1 pound of pasta.
"Slow Cooker Revolution" (America's Test Kitchen, 2011)