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We have been having lovely weather here in Germany these past two weeks. It has been warm and sunny and almost no rain, but just enough it seems to sustain our garden without me having to water it that often! Our balcony plants are doing well, too.  At the beginning of the month I tore up and put to compost the flowering remains of radish, spinach and chard that were left over and no longer edible from earlier this summer and replaced that section of our balcony-planter with lots of high-yield, late season strawberry plants! I love strawberries and so does my almost two year old daughter Anna. So when I noticed yesterday that we had about a half dozen that were ripe and ready to pick I started getting very excited. I am hoping that soon we will have our first harvest of fresh, ripe strawberries and all Anna and I will have to do is step out onto the balcony to enjoy a tasty desert. With all this nice weather, we have been spending a lot of time outside in the garden, taking walks, and playing at the nearby playground.  Consequently, I haven’t had much time to spend in the kitchen cooking warm meals, nor with this late summer heat wave have I wanted to either. I have been making quick meals for Anna and myself at lunch time or just using leftovers from dinner the night before which has been suiting us just fine. Once the cold weather sets in I look forward to cooking and baking more… in the meanwhile a quick meal for two that hits the spot has been in order. With the use of plenty of fresh herbs from our balcony garden and maybe even a bit of grated hard cheese on top you can turn this thrifty 20 minute meal into a gourmet dish for two. And wouldn’t it be all the more enjoyable with the additional glass of (German) red wine? Of course!

Fusilli Pasta with Chickpeas and Fresh Herbs

Half a pound or about 250 grams Fusilli pasta

1 cup canned (or pre-soaked and boiled) Chickpeas

1 small Onion (diced)

4 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)

2 cups of diced fresh or canned tomatoes (I used about 400 grams of canned diced tomatoes)

Olive oil

Salt, Red and Black ground Pepper to taste

Chopped fresh parsley and basil *optional*

Grated Parmigiano or Romano Cheese *optional*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you are waiting for the pasta water prepare the onion and garlic. Heat a large skillet on high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute while stirring briefly for about a minute or two until fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer on medium-high heat. When the pot of water comes to a boil add the pasta and cook according to the box directions. While the pasta is cooking the sauce should be simmering, add the chick peas and stir occasionally. When the pasta is done, I prefer it “al dente”, drain but make sure to reserve about a cup of the cooking water for the sauce. Once the sauce has thickened a bit you can add some of the reserved pasta water to thin it a little. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta to the pan of sauce and thoroughly combine. When plating add plenty of fresh herbs and optionally grated cheese to taste. Enjoy!