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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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas

Yes, more harissa! I love the pop of flavor and heat it provides. The heat in this dish can easily be adjusted to taste by modifying the amount of harissa in the sauce. This finished dish definitely had quite a spicy kick.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Dawn Perry. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and adjusted the cooking times accordingly. I also doubled the garlic and served it over brown rice. We used sour cream or Greek yogurt to temper the heat of the finished dish.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Total Time: about 45 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 to 4 T harissa paste, adjust to taste (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving, as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, for the first batch, in a large ovenproof skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side; add a second tablespoon of oil to the pan prior to the second batch. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add onion and garlic to the pan drippings; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute.
  6. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.
  7. Nestle chicken in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven.
  8. Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  9. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

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If you like this you may also like:

Jose Garces’ One-Pot Arroz con Pollo

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This may be the most complex (flavorful and delicious) Arroz con Pollo ever made! The time was worth it- I only slightly simplified the recipe. A perfect dish to make on a cold, snow-bound day. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed Jose Garces. I substituted turmeric and sweet paprika for the annatto seeds to make the flavored oil, used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and omitted the olives.

  • Yield: 6 generous servings
  •  1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons annatto seeds (or 3 tsp turmeric and 3 tsp sweet paprika)
  • 7 parsley sprigs
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1/2 an orange)
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Anaheim or poblano chile, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups long-grain white basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas
  • 4 jarred piquillo peppers (2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, if desired
  1. If using annatto seeds: In a saucepan, simmer the oil and annatto seeds over low heat for 2 minutes. Let the oil cool to room temperature, 15 minutes. Strain the oil and reserve the seeds. If using turmeric and sweet paprika: combine the spices with the canola oil, set aside.
  2. Wrap and tie the reserved annatto seeds with the parsley, thyme and 1 bay leaf in a double layer of cheesecloth. (I just incorporated the fresh herbs and bay leaf in the dish while it cooked.)
  3. In a bowl, combine the orange juice, 3 tablespoons of the annatto oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 teaspoons of the dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the annatto oil. Season the marinated chicken with salt and pepper; add to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned all over; transfer to a plate.
  5. Add the carrot, celery, shallot, leek, 2 sliced garlic cloves and half of the chopped onion to the casserole and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, chicken and herb (bundle) and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and transfer the casserole to the oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. Strain the braising liquid; you should have 4 cups (if necessary, add water). Clean out the casserole. Shred the chicken meat.
  7. In the clean casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the annatto oil. Add the bell pepper, chile and remaining 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 bay leaf and chopped onion. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened.
  8. Add the shredded chicken and 4 cups braising liquid, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the rice and chickpeas and stir once; arrange the piquillos and olives (if using) on top. Press a 9-inch square of parchment paper on the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes, until the rice is tender. Let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Remove the paper.
  9. Serve with plantain chips and hot sauce, if desired.

One Year Ago:

Spicy Israeli Couscous with Summer Squash

This side dish is delicious warm or cold. It has a little bit of spice from the red pepper flakes, but the amount can be easily adjusted to taste. I use Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous blend which also includes red quinoa, split dried garbanzo beans, and orzo. We ate it with grilled Palestinian chicken and green salad- a gold standard Middle Eastern meal in our house! The recipe was adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

  • 1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous
  • 1 3/4 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow summer squash (or 1 small)
  • 1 cup diced zucchini (or 1 small)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used sweet curry powder)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Bring stock to a boil and then add couscous. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.  (Yields 3 cups of cooked couscous.)
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add and sauté the squash, zucchini, red onion, and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas and spices. Then gently stir in the cooked couscous. Cook until hot, about 8 minutes.
  4. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Hummus

Hummus

We usually have hummus around as a dinner alternative for my daughter.  When she objects to what is being served, she is always agreeable to have hummus with vegetables and flatbread.  We also serve it as an appetizer, and eat it on sandwiches with lettuce and shredded carrots. I always use the recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook – a gold standard. I make 2 modifications to this recipe- I add some of the bean liquid to make the hummus more creamy, and I warm the beans in their liquid in the microwave for 2 minutes before pureeing.  Melissa Clark, a New York Times food writer, suggested warming the beans to make the hummus more creamy- it really works.

  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • a handful of parsley or basil
  • 1 scallion, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (warmed)
  • 3 T tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne, cumin, paprika, to taste
  1. Place garlic, parsley/basil, and scallion in a food processor or blender, and mince.
  2. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, some of the bean liquid, and salt, and puree to a thick paste.
  3. Season to taste, if desired, with cayenne, paprika, and cumin (and correct the salt if necessary).  Transfer to a tightly lidded container and chill.

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