Orecchiette with Greens, Mozzarella & Crispy Chickpeas

I love a recipe that gobbles up the greens from my CSA share. I have made this dish a couple of times using whatever combination of greens I had available. Recently, I used turnip greens, kale and spinach but I have also used chard and baby collard greens in the past. The classic combination of basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella was a nice complement to the sautéed greens as well.

This quick dish was adapted from a Food and Wine staff favorite recipe, contributed by Marcie Turney. I doubled the recipe, decreased the red pepper flakes, and increased amount of fresh mozzarella. SO delicious.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound greens such as Swiss chard, kale, turnip greens, spinach, stemmed and leaves coarsely chopped (or more, as desired)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 16 large basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium, deep skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the chickpeas and cook over high heat until crisp, 4 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel–lined plate, sprinkle with the cumin and coriander and season with salt and black pepper. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, 3 minutes.
  5. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring until incorporated.
  7. Add the mozzarella and basil and toss. Add more pasta water, if necessary.
  8. Spoon the pasta into bowls, sprinkle with the chickpeas and serve.

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Vegetarian Harira

This is a vegetarian version of Harira, a traditional, savory Moroccan soup. It is incredibly full-flavored- loaded with spices and legumes.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I added fresh lemon juice, used canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried garbanzo beans, and increased the amount of garlic. Tanis recommends serving the soup the day after it is prepared in order to allow the flavors to meld.

We ate it with warm naan and green salad. It was hearty, healthy, filling, and delicious.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced, about 2 cups
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 (3-inch) piece cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned (I used 2 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled dried fava beans or 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ¼ pound angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Put olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, saffron and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Add tomatoes, celery leaves and cilantro and bring to a brisk simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and dried faves or soaked chickpeas.
  6. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, covered with the lid ajar.
  7. Let soup simmer for 30 minutes, then taste broth and adjust salt.
  8. Cook for 1 hour more at a gentle simmer, until the legumes are soft and creamy. It may be necessary to add more liquid from time to time to keep soup from being too porridge-like. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. (With every addition of water, taste and adjust for salt.)
  9. Just before serving, add pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add fresh lemon juice.
  11. Ladle soup into small bowls and pass lemon wedges for squeezing, as desired.
Note: The soup may be made in advance and refrigerated. (This is recommended!) If it thickens, thin with water or broth when reheating, and adjust the salt.

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White Bean Soup with Bacon & Herbs

My husband usually rejects any soup suggestion unless it has a stew-like consistency. I think I convinced him that this brothy soup would be great because of the bacon. 🙂 By the way, of course, he enjoyed it!

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jose Garces. It is based upon a Spanish white bean soup called caldo gallego. I doubled the garlic, used a dried bay leaf, and incorporated homemade turkey stock. The turkey stock made the soup much richer in color and more full-flavored. The fresh herbs brought freshness and color to the finished dish. and… Who doesn’t like crispy bacon sprinkled over the top of their soup? 😉

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

  • 1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 10 cups chicken stock (I incorporated 4 cups homemade turkey stock)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary.
  6. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.

Note: The soup and bacon can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Recrisp the bacon before serving.

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Pancetta, White Bean, & Queso Fresco Empanadas

My son and I are huge empanada fans. (Now we’ve roped my husband in too!) So, last year we started the tradition of eating empanadas on Super Bowl Sunday. (With our guacamole, of course!) After seeing this version at Fiesta Friday, I knew I would have to choose this filling for one of our empanadas this year. They looked amazing.

The filling recipe was adapted from Bourbon and Brown Sugar Blog. I used a large shallot instead of the onion, added garlic to the filling, and chilled the empanadas prior to baking. I also made homemade whole wheat empanada dough and modified the baking temperature and time. The dough recipe was adapted from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko. I cut the dough into 5-inch rounds as they were our main course; 3-inch rounds would be a perfect appetizer size. Yummy!

For the Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Dough:

Yield: 18 5-inch disks

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1 /2 tsp coarse salt
  • 18 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 12 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch dice
  1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and salt. With your hands, toss the butter and cream cheese in the flour mixture until each piece is lightly coated.
  2. With the paddle attachment, beat on low-speed until the dough comes together and forms a loose mass around the paddle.
  3. On two large pieces of plastic wrap, divide the dough in half and then gently pat each half of the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
  4. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.)
  5. To Finish: On a floured work surface (or between layers of plastic wrap), roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Using a 5-inch round cutter (I placed the plastic-wrapped dough over a cutting board and cut the rounds using a bowl and sharp knife.), cut 18 rounds out of the dough, reshaping and re-rolling out the dough as necessary.

For the Pancetta, White Bean, & Queso Fresco Filling:

Yield: 18 empanadas

  • 8 ounces diced pancetta
  • ½ jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large shallot or ¼ onion, finely diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can small white beans
  • 8 ounces crumbled queso fresco
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 18 5-inch disks of empanada dough (recipe above)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Fry pancetta until it begins to crisp up.
  3. Using the pancetta drippings left in the bottom of the pan, sauté the jalapenos, red peppers and onions on low heat about 10-12 minutes (the onions should be translucent).
  4. Add the white beans, and take off the heat.
  5. Add the crumbled queso fresco.
  6. Mound 2 tablespoons of the filling on half of the round and fold the other side over to form a half-moon. Press to seal the dough and pinch at intervals to make pleats. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. (Alternatively, start at one end, pinch one corner between your thumb and forefinger and fold it over the rim. Pinch the dough next to the fold and fold again. Continue pinching and folding to create a decorative rope rim.)
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to baking but no longer than 1 day.
  8. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Roasted Cauliflower & White Bean Dip

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I made this dip as a hummus alternative. It was tasty– but we all prefer hummus! 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I added hot chicken stock to the cauliflower and bean puree to make the consistency more creamy. I also added parsley, spices, and additional lemon juice to give the dip more zesty flavor. We ate it with veggies and pita chips but it would be good as a sandwich spread as well.

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup hot chicken stock
  • large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • paprika, cumin, & cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until cauliflower is tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes. When garlic is cool enough to handle, remove peel.
  2. In a food processor, combine cauliflower, garlic, beans, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1/2 to 3/4 cups hot stock, until desired consistency is achieved. Process until smooth. Add parsley and spices; season to taste with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 3 days.) Serve drizzled with oil.

Makhani Dal (Butter Dal), Mogul-Style

IMG_3647

This was not the most seasonal dish to make in 90 degree heat! BUT- I LOVE dals– so healthy and flavorful, and I have been wanting to try this recipe. This popular Indian dal is rich and super creamy because it has whole milk plain yogurt incorporated in the dal and used again as a topping. This is the third dal that I have made from a New York Times Article written by Mark Bittman called “New York Dals”; I previously made Chilkewali Mung Dal (Split Green Mung Beans), Mumbai-Style and Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas), New Delhi-Style. We ate this with brown Basmati rice and sautéed Spinach with Garlic and Cumin. It was a “four-burner” meal- dal, tadka, rice, and spinach- but worth it. This was my husband’s favorite dal (so far…). I also doubled the recipe, anything that cooks for 3 1/2 hours needs to be doubled! GREAT!

TOTAL TIME: About 3 1/2 hours, largely unattended
  • 3/4 cup whole black gram beans (sabat urad)
  • 2 tablespoons adzuki beans or pink beans (choti rajma) or red kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt, whisked
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground-red-chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1.
Combine the legumes with 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pot; let the legumes soak for 2 hours.
2.
Add the whole-milk yogurt, 1 cup onions, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, paprika, chili and salt to the pot and bring to a boil once more. Cook, partly covered, over low heat for 90 minutes, or until the dal is very soft. Turn off the heat and use an Indian mathani (or balloon whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; it should be saucy but not soupy.
IMG_3645
3.
To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the remaining cup of onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin and garam masala.IMG_3643
4.
Transfer the dal to a large bowl and cover with the low-fat yogurt (we used whole-milk!); top with tadka, stir gently and serve.
YIELD: About 4-6 servings

Minestrone

moosewood minestrone

I adapted this recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen to make a Minestrone that was more like a stew. It was really thick! I added Parmesan rind to the stew as it simmered, and finished it with freshly squeezed lemon juice to brighten the flavors. I also added baby spinach (instead of diced fresh tomatoes) just before serving to add color and texture. The parsley and freshly grated Parmesan garnishes also added a lot to the finished dish. Healthy and good. We ate it with warm flatbread.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced and/or 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cups (or more) water (I used stock)
  • 1 14 1/2-oz can tomato puree (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pea beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans (if canned: well-rinsed and well-drained)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup dry pasta (any shape) (I used Ditalini)
  • 1 or 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • baby spinach (or other greens, optional)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly minced parsley
  • Parmesan cheese (and rind – optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, eggplant (if using zucchini, add it later, with the bell pepper), oregano, black pepper, and basil. Add Parmesan rind (if using), cover, and cook over very low heat about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add bell pepper, zucchini, water, and tomato puree. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir and cook until the pasta is tender. Add lemon juice. Stir in the diced fresh tomatoes or baby spinach, and serve right away topped with parsley and Parmesan.

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