Hummus is a refrigerator staple in my house, but eating it as dip all the time gets boring. I do enjoy it as a substitute for mayo on sandwiches but even that has become mundane. So recently I decided to try and use hummus in other culinary applications. Alas, pasta with creamy hummus sauce was born and the results were pretty fantastic.
Hummus is great on so many levels. It is healthy, versatile and comes in dozens of flavors and styles. Even making hummus is easy and cheap. Got a can of beans and some olive oil? You got hummus! Of course I tend to take a hand from the grocery store as often as I can and there are many great brands that deliver quality hummus.
The idea for hummus as a pasta sauce came to me when I had a tub of basil pesto hummus that was taking up real estate in my fridge for far too long. The flavor of the hummus was great, but I didn’t care for it with my go to raw veggies or pita. There was something a little off about the combination of flavors. Then the idea struck me that basil pesto is great on pasta so why not marry hummus and noodles? An excellent fusion of middle eastern and Italian flavors was born!
What I especially like about this recipe is the health factor. The sauce is rich and creamy, but only uses a fraction of the normal cream or butter. Better yet it opens a door of possibilities when it comes to making healthy pasta dishes.
If you can’t tell from my many pasta dish posts, I love pasta!
Anyways, to get started making this dish here is what you will need…
- 1 cup hummus (any flavor or brand, just choose a flavor you like, spicy hummus would be really good!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (if using spicy hummus you may want to omit)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I keep a jar of whole nutmeg in the freezer and grate as I need it)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 pound noodles (any type, I used rigatoni)
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/4 half and half
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch kale
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
Generously salt the water for the pasta and cook the noodles according to package directions. Once done, reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. then drain the noodles and set aside.
Finely mince the garlic and shallot. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Sweat the garlic and shallot for a few minutes until soft. Add the oregano, basil and crushed red pepper and toast for 1 minute. Then add the hummus and cream. Simmer over low heat just to combine. If too thick add reserved pasta water a little at a time until desired consistency.
The nutmeg adds a unique flavor and is a great addition to any white sauce. it is not a necessary spice though so feel free to skip if you don’t have any. This recipe serves four people.