1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped (optional)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until tender according to package directions, then drain and rinse the noodles well with cool water.
Place the goat cheese in the center of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the garlic cloves in one corner so they’re easier to find later. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and optional olives around the goat cheese, in that order. Then drizzle the olive oil all over the mixture. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, several twists of pepper, and the red pepper flakes, if using.
Bake for 20 minutes on the upper third rack, then place the dish on a heat-safe surface. Gently stir the goat cheese into the tomatoes and tuck the garlic cloves back down to the bottom of the dish.
Return the dish to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 more minutes, until the tomatoes are juicy and shriveling and the goat cheese is starting to turn golden on top.
Remove the dish from the oven. Carefully, using a fork, find each of the four garlic cloves and smash each one against the side of the pan. Gently swirl the cheese and tomatoes together.
Carefully transfer all of the tomato mixture to the pot of rinsed and drained pasta. Taste, and add a pinch or two of salt if desired (if you omitted the olives, you may want even more).
Sprinkle all over with fresh basil. Serve warm, or let the pasta cool to room temperature before refrigerating it for later. Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
Make it gluten free: Substitute sturdy short-cut gluten-free pasta noodles.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Omit the goat cheese. Top the finished dip with a dollop of vegan sour cream, if you wish, and/or a heavy sprinkle of vegan Parmesan.
▸ Nutrition Information
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