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.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

Pasta Alla Norma with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

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My son is learning about eating a balanced diet in Cub Scouts. He had to plan a balanced menu and then compare it to his actual diet. When he was sharing the “healthy food items” from his actual menu with his den, he included slow-roasted tomatoes. His den leader- who happens to be a chef- had such a huge reaction: “Wow! Who made slow-roasted tomatoes? They are so good for you!”. I was so proud. 🙂

I had made this Sicilian dish in the past and enjoyed it, so I knew that this time-consuming version would be worth it. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I nearly doubled the tomatoes, eggplant, and the ricotta salata- I prefer to have TONS of veggies on my pasta. 🙂 Fabulous!!

Time: 3-4 hours, mostly unattended

Yield: 4 servings

  • 50 grape or cherry tomatoes, depending on size, cut in half
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 1 3/4 pounds small to medium eggplants, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2/3 to 1 pound fresh pasta (I used fresh pappardelle)
  • 4 to 6 ounces ricotta salata, grated, diced small, or broken into small chunks
  • 20 basil leaves, torn
  1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Put the tomatoes in one layer in an ovenproof pan and drizzle them liberally with oil, then salt and sprinkle with thyme sprigs, if using. Roast for about an hour, then stir and roast for another half-hour or so.
  2. After the 1 1/2 hours, when tomatoes are shriveled, add garlic, turn down heat to 225 degrees and roast for at least another hour. They should not cook completely dry; if they threaten to overcook, turn the heat down or pull them out. Fish out the garlic if you like. (I left it in!)
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, sizzle the eggplant in about 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. (cover with a splatter screen!) The oil should bubble steadily. Turn eggplant as needed until nicely browned, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, cut roughly into strips.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  5. Add the eggplant to the tomatoes and stir. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water.
  6. Cook the pasta and warm a serving bowl. At the bottom of the bowl put half the sauce and half the ricotta salata. Add the pasta and the remaining sauce, cheese and basil and toss.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Roasted Red Pepper, Corn, & Tomato Soup

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I had a BOUNTY of red peppers this year in my CSA share. I found this recipe on an extensive search for a creative use for them… last year I made Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (link below) more than once, and, although delicious, I wanted something new! 🙂 (One can only eat so many red peppers in salad too…)

I was completely floored by this delicious soup. The color was incredible too. What a wonderful surprise! The roasted vegetables – especially the corn- gave it a fabulous depth of flavor. It was chili-esque. In fact, it was the BEST vegetarian “faux” chili I have ever tasted- and the BEST use for my bounty of CSA red peppers! (not to mention late-summer corn!) We ate it with green salad and popovers– but it would also be wonderful with cornbread. This recipe was adapted from Knead to Cook.com.

I’m bringing it to this week’s party over at The Novice Gardener. Happy Fiesta Friday #36!!

  • 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 3 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 red bell peppers or red long peppers
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ricotta salata, for serving, optional
  • cilantro, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast red peppers on a baking sheet 5-7 minutes a side, until charred. Turn over and repeat to char the other side. Cover with foil to steam. When cool enough to touch, remove skin, seeds, and stems. Roughly chop.
  3. On a cookie sheet drizzle a bit of olive oil. Remove the corn kernels from the cob; place on the cookie sheet. Add the tomatoes. Toss to coat with the olive oil, adding extra if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and chopped red peppers and stir.
  5. Add the stock and spices to the red pepper mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add the roasted corn and tomatoes. Reserve some corn for a garnish, if desired. With an immersion blender, or working in batches with a food processor, puree until smooth. Continue to cook simmer for an additional 20 minutes or longer over a low flame.
  7. Serve garnished with reserved corn, a sprinkling of cheese, and/or cilantro, if desired.

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One Year Ago:

Roasted Tomato & Pancetta Penne

When we have guests staying at our house, I spend extra time menu planning. It is tricky because I want to serve something tasty, but not time-consuming. I also have a chance to splurge on desserts- and have to allow time for that! 🙂

My in-laws were visiting us recently, and I served this dish after a busy day. It was quick, delicious, and well-received! The roasted tomatoes were sweet and bursting with flavor. I reduced the amount of red pepper flakes (to 1/4 teaspoon) and added my special CSA hard-neck garlic. I thought that the garlic made the dish. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Great!

  • 2 pounds grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 thinly sliced large red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, to taste
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced small
  • 2 large cloves hard-neck garlic
  • 3/4 pound penne
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes with onion, oil, and red-pepper flakes; season and top with pancetta.
  2. Roast at 450 degrees (on convection roast) until tomatoes burst, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once. Halfway through the roasting process, add the sliced garlic, stir.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the penne, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss penne with tomato mixture, parsley, and pasta water (as needed); season.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

One-Pan Pasta

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This is a wonderful dish! Every piece of pasta is saturated in fresh flavors from cooking it with the garlic, onions, basil and tomatoes. It has a spicy kick from red pepper flakes (which could easily be adjusted) and saltiness from the fresh Parmesan grated over the finished dish. A perfect, simple, weeknight meal.

When I first saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living, I was excited to make it but I became apprehensive after reading reviews that the results were gummy. Not true. I am happy that I finally decided that I didn’t have much to lose by trying it myself! 🙂 I substituted whole wheat spaghetti for linguine, added extra garlic, and waited until the cooking was completed to add the olive oil. The water could be substituted with stock or partially substituted with wine. GREAT.

  • Total Time:  20 Minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • 12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water (or stock) (possibly some wine?)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the olive oil, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

One Year Ago: Cilantro Pesto

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Cherry Tomato Tart with Basil


One of my favorite recipe resources is Food and Wine Magazine. Of course, I first choose a recipe by what appeals to me, but then I check to see if it is listed as a Staff Favorite by the magazine. It seems like an insurance policy that a recipe isn’t mediocre. I can’t remember ever being disappointed.

In August and September, we get the sweetest orange cherry tomatoes in my weekly farm share. This tart showcases cherry tomatoes- it practically has no other ingredients. But because I needed so many to fill the tart, I had to add in some Costco cherry tomatoes as well! This recipe was described as an appetizer in Food and Wine, but we ate huge pieces of it for dinner with a big green salad. It was simple, pretty, sweet, and very good.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves
  1. Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In a food processor, pulse the flour with a pinch of salt and the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and pulse until the dough nearly comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Roll out the dough to a 14-inch round. Press the round into the tart pan; trim off any excess. Mound the tomatoes in the shell. Bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, until the dough is evenly browned. Let cool. Season with salt, garnish with the basil and serve.

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