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Amanda Frederickson wants you to cook unfussy food. Her new book “Simple Beautiful Food” is a testament to that ideology, a space where simple, good-tasting food reigns. The cookbook author and recipe developer is all about making the most of those common ingredients often stuffed away in your pantry, eschewing mail-ordering hard-to-find ingredients for those you can always reach for in your local store. 

Related Reading: The Best Places to Restock Pantry Staples Online

Simple Beautiful Food: Recipes and Riffs for Everyday Cooking, $16.98 on Amazon

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Her book is divided into a few sections, from light bites to pantry pastas and weeknight eats, where recipes with fewer ingredients and uncomplicated techniques are revered. You might make savory breakfast muffins studded with bacon and scallions, zucchini salad tossed with pine nuts and fresh herbs, or shrimp tacos swiped with roasted tomatillo salsa. Each recipe comes with a shopping list—a round-up of Amanda’s kitchen staples—and she also walks readers through her most used tools, recommending that home cooks keep a mandoline, meat thermometer, and nonstick skillet on hand.

Ahead, Amanda shares a recipe for one of her pantry pastas, a dish that’s as easy as it is versatile. Her parsley pesto pasta with chickpeas and ricotta salata is filled with ingredients you likely normally keep on hand anyway—from canned chickpeas to garlic and lemon—but if there are items you don’t happen to have, Amanda offers quick swaps (parmesan cheese will do in a pinch if you don’t have ricotta salata, and any leafy green or herb can be subbed for the parsley).

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This pasta, after all, is designed to be something you can whip up on a moment’s notice, a pantry pasta that’s far superior to simply throwing a can of store-bought tomato sauce over some spaghetti. Here, Amanda suggests a bright pesto with herbs, nuts, and cheese, crisped-up chickpeas, and a topping of crumbled cheese. It’s a two-pot, vegetarian affair—one just about everyone can get behind.

Reprinted from Simple Beautiful Food. Copyright © 2020 by Amanda Frederickson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.

Parsley Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas and Ricotta Salata Recipe

Tip: For topping, Parmesan cheese will work instead of ricotta salata.

Parsley Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas and Ricotta Salata

Serves: 4
  • Pine nuts
  • Pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Ricotta salata
  1. To make the pesto, combine 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves, 1 cup of fresh basil, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely minced. With the motor running, drizzle in 1⁄2 cup of olive oil and continue running until the mixture is smooth. Add 1⁄2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pulse just until it is combined. Set aside.
  2. Cook 12 ounces of dried pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, saving 1⁄4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
  3. In the same pot, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Drain and add 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas along with a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cook the chickpeas for 2 to 3 minutes, until they become golden brown and slightly crispy.
  4. Add the cooked pasta, as well as all of the pesto and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well, drizzling in some of the reserved pasta liquid to thin out the pesto, if needed. Top with 1⁄4 cup of crumbled ricotta salata and taste for salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Header image courtesy of "Simple Beautiful Food."

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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