Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. In another medium pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bay leaves and cook until onion is softened, about 7 minutes.
Stir in olives (and anchovies, if using), garlic, and chile flakes; let sizzle 1 minute.
Boil pasta just until beginning to get tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, stir tomatoes into pot of onion and olives and let simmer 7 to 8 minutes to blend flavors.
Scoop 1 cup cooking water from pasta pot and pour into pot of sauce. Drain pasta and add to sauce, along with chickpeas and spinach. Cook until pasta is just tender, about 5 minutes. Taste and add lemon juice if you like.
Meanwhile, dry pasta pot, add 1 tbsp. oil, and heat over medium heat. Add panko and lemon zest. Toast panko, stirring, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Spoon pasta into shallow bowls and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with panko and serve extra panko on the side.
Serves 4 (8 cups)