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Posts tagged ‘Chickpeas’

Orecchiette with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Pimentón

March is a tough month.  It’s still winter up in New York City, and people start to go a little stir crazy.  Luckily, I just returned from a mini vacation to the Sunshine State.  And let me tell you, it is hard being back in New York.  Sure, we’ve been having a pretty mild winter here, but nothing beats 75 and sunny every day for 5 days straight!

Speaking of sun, while we might have a good month or two of cold weather ahead of us, bathing suit season will be here before you know it.  I made this dish a while ago, and it falls into the “quick and healthy dinner” category of recipes.  Whole wheat pasta (or plain if you prefer), chickpeas, and spinach – all combined with plenty of garlic and a fun spice called pimentón.  Pimentón is Spanish paprika, and has a sweet, smokey flavor and bright orange hue.  I bought pimentón some time ago and finally got around to trying it.  Thank you to Food & Style for the recipe, it turned out lovely.

This makes a lot of pasta (6 big servings), and I found that I liked the dish more after it had been sitting in the fridge a day or two!  If you can, definitely use the Manchengo cheese – it’s one of my favorites, and the nutty flavor goes perfectly with the smokey pimentón.

One year ago: Banana Daiquiris

Orecchiette with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Pimentón

Adapted from Food & Style

Makes 6 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
12 oz dried orecchiette pasta (I used whole wheat)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, skinned and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons pimentón dulce (Spanish smoked, sweet paprika)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15 oz canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) (I used canned)
12 oz baby spinach, rinsed and spun dry
1/3 cup cooking liquid from chickpeas or pasta water
1 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Manchengo, shredded, for garnish

1.  Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Once waters is boiling, add a few big pinches of kosher salt and the pasta.  Cook pasta until tender but still al dente. Drain well.

2.  While the orecchiette is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil and garlic.  Sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic begins to sizzle, stirring constantly and making sure it doesn’t brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Just before the pasta is ready, reheat the garlic oil over high heat. As soon as the garlic sizzles, add the cayenne, pimentón, chickpeas, and spinach. Toss the mixture together until the spinach starts to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Next, add the pasta, cooking liquid from chickpeas or pasta water, sea salt, and pepper. Toss quickly and remove from heat.

4.  Spoon orecchiette into bowls, and garnish with Manchego, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.

Orzo and Chickpea Salad

Need a break from the seemingly endless number of baked goods I’ve been posting lately?  Yes, I do too.  It is, after all, bathing suit season.  Don’t worry, more treats are coming (like this scrumptious blueberry tart).

But in the meantime, here’s a nice, healthy lunch or dinner for you.  My friend Shannon over at always amazing Tri 2 Cook made this a few months ago, and the recipe has been sitting on my To Do list for a while.  It’s a great light and healthy dish for summer.  The main change I would make to the dish would be to roast the broccoli instead of blanching it.  Roasting the broccoli gives it great flavor, and I thought adding the Parmesan Roasted Broccoli recipe I recently tried with this dish would result in the perfect combination. The broccoli recipe makes a great side dish, but when added to this recipe, I left out the parmesan and basil (since all those ingredients already go into the orzo).

The downside of roasting the broccoli?  It takes longer, and messes up more dishes.  And as Shannon points out, it’s summer and you may not want to turn on the oven.  So if you want to keep cool and are looking for as fast a dish as possible, blanching the broccoli is the way to go!

Orzo and Chickpea Salad

Adapted from Shannon at Tri 2 Cook

Makes 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


Roasted broccoli, recipe below
1 cup cooked regular or whole wheat orzo
1/4 to 1/2 cup basil pesto, either jarred or homemade, see recipe below
1/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt
1 can chickpeas, drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon zest, to taste

Prepare roasted broccoli and set aside.  While broccoli is roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a healthy shake of salt to the boiling water, and add the orzo; cook to al dente.  Drain cooked orzo (drain well!), then transfer to a large bowl.  Add roasted broccoli, 1/4 cup pesto, greek yogurt,  chickpeas, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings, including adding more pesto and lemon zest if necessary.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Makes 1 cup

Total time: 10 minutes


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

If using the pesto right away, add  the remaining oil and pulse until smooth.  Mix in cheese.

If you want to freeze part of the pesto, transfer what you want to freeze to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top.  Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Adapted from Ina Garten

Makes 4 servings

Total time: 40 minutes


4 cups broccoli florets (2 heads broccoli )
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 4 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

2.  Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, and lemon juice.  If you’re adding this to the orzo dish, stop now and add orzo to the bowl with the broccoli.

3.  If making broccoli on its own as a side dish, also toss with the Parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Happy Groundhog Day!  It is icy, cold, and generally miserable in New York City today (and probably throughout much of the East Coast).  The mighty, all-powerful groundhog has predicted an early spring.  Seriously?  Since when can a groundhog see his shadow during an ice storm?

Anyway, on my recent trip to Rome, my friend and I, after a day of visits to the Borghese Gallery, Colosseum, and Forum, wandered into a restaurant for a late lunch.  It rained on an off that day (as it did most days we were there), the result of which was a terrible damp, bone-chilling cold.  After eating so much pasta, all I really wanted for lunch was some soup.  Luckily, they had pasta e ceci on the menu.

Pasta e ceci, or pasta and chickpeas, is considered by some to be a soup, and others a pasta dish.  I like it as a soup, but as a soup naturally thickened by pureeing some of the chickpeas.  I have a recipe for this soup in an Italy cookbook someone had given me for Christmas a few years ago, but it didn’t look particularly good, or anywhere close to the version I had in Rome.  I then turned to the internet, but still did not find a recipe I liked.  So I took the recipe from my book and the recipes from various websites, and did a little mash-up.  Behold: my own pasta e ceci.

I was extremely happy with the results.  It was thick and hearty, but also light (and healthy!).  What can I say, I love rosemary (as evidenced by the picture above).  The rosemary gives this a wonderful, subtle flavor that is not overpowering.  It’s a great way to warm up, especially during one of the weekly snowstorms we on the East Coast have been suffering through all winter.  When will this snow end?!

Pasta e Ceci

Recipe by Pâte à Chew

Serves 4

Total time: 1 hour


2 14 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 fresh rosemary sprig, leaves picked and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (or to taste)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water (I needed 4 cups stock, plus a little extra hot water)
1 1/2 cups small shells, or another small soup pasta like ditalini
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Put the finely chopped onion, garlic, and rosemary into a saucepan with the little extra virgin olive oil, the red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Cook as gently as possible on low heat, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft and losing color.

2.  Drain the chickpeas and rinse well in cold water.  Add tomato paste, chickpeas, and 3 cups chicken stock to pan. Cover and cook gently for 30 minutes and then, using a slotted spoon, remove 1/3 – 1/2 of the chickpeas, put them a bowl, and set aside.  If you want your soup to have more whole chick peas (and also be not as thick), remove 1/2 the chickpeas.

3.  Puree the soup in the pan using a handheld immersion blender, or puree the soup in batches in a food processor (which is what I did), returning the pureed soup to the pot. Add the reserved whole chickpeas and the pasta, taste to see if more salt and pepper is needed. Note: if the soup is a little thick, pour in the last cup of stock, or some hot water to thin it down.  I added the rest of the chicken stock, plus a little more hot water.  Simmer gently on medium-low to low heat; add pasta, and continue to simmer until the chickpeas are tender and the pasta is cooked.

4.  Ladle into a bowl, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the soup, and top with grated Parmesan cheese.  When reheating leftovers, you might need to add a little more water to thin out the soup.


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