Start to finish: 40 minutes; 8 servings
1½ cups basmati rice
2 T. olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground dry ginger
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
12 ounces elbow or any small pasta
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
Half of a 15-ounce can brown lentils, drained
4 cups water
Salt and ground black pepper
Cider vinegar to taste
Cook rice, fluff, cover, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne and ginger and heat for 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
In a large saute pan over medium-high, heat the remaining oil and saute onion until starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add pasta. Continue to saute until pasta begins to brown, another 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir chickpeas, lentils and 4 cups of water into the pasta mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and pasta is tender. If needed, add additional water ¼ cup at a time until pasta is cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Season tomato mixture with a splash or two of vinegar and a bit of salt.
To serve, make a pile of rice on each serving plate. Spoon some of the pasta mixture over the rice, then ladle the tomato sauce over that.