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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Falafel-Spiced Heirloom Tomatoes & Chickpeas on Flatbread

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I am bringing you this wonderful dish as a guest post of sorts. I had my eye on this recipe, and my friend brought it to share at a dinner at my house. It was so pretty and tasty, we decided I had to share it! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. My friend doubled the heirloom tomatoes and cut them slightly thicker. She also used lemon zest as well as sumac in the seasonings. Warm naan was substituted for the flatbread in the original recipe (although I included the instructions below). My mistake was suggesting that we should warm the naan in the oven. Next time, grilling or toasting the naan until crispy before assembly would allow it to hold up a little better to the slathering of delicious toppings. 🙂

The beautiful summer tomatoes really shine in this dish!

Yield: 4 as a vegetarian main course or 8 to 10 as an appetizer

For the Tomatoes & Chickpeas:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sumac (and/or lemon zest)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more
  • 2 to 4 large heirloom tomatoes, any color, thinly sliced
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 Persian cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Flatbread & Assembly:

  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Tomatoes And Chickpeas:

  1. Combine garlic, sumac (& lemon zest, if using), red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, and 1 tsp. salt in a small bowl.
  2. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle garlic mixture evenly over top. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Toss chickpeas and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mash chickpeas with a fork until about half are smashed. Add shallot, parsley, and oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Yogurt Sauce:

  1. Combine cucumber, yogurt, mint, and parsley in a medium bowl; season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes.
    Do Ahead: Yogurt sauce can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover and chill.

To Make the Flatbread: (Alternatively, substitute 4 pieces of full-size naan, grilled or toasted until crisp.)

  1. Whisk baking powder, sugar, 2 cups flour, and 2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add yogurt and stir to combine (the yogurt’s acidity ensures a tender texture).
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Divide into 4 pieces, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes (this will make dough easier to roll).
  3. Working one at a time, roll out each piece of dough into a round about ⅛” thick. (Don’t stress: They don’t need to be perfect.)
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Working one at a time, cook rounds of dough until underside is golden brown and flatbread is beginning to puff, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is golden brown, about 1 minute longer; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and rounds of dough. Let cool slightly.

To Assemble:

  1. Top each flatbread with yogurt sauce, chickpea mixture, and tomatoes. Drizzle with more oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut into wedges and serve.

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