Orecchiette with Beet Greens

Orecchiette with Beet Greens
We used beet greens in our version of this easy pasta dish, which imparted a rosy pink-ish hue to the pasta, but you can use any hearty greens – kale, chard, arugula or mustard – with equally good results. Simply omit the butter and cheese for a completely vegetarian version. Orecchiette is Italian for “little ears” and it’s easy to see where this sturdy pasta got it’s whimsical name. Each little circular pasta disc resembles a small, rounded ear and no two are alike.
Ingredients:

1/2 oz dried mushrooms (we used porcini, but any variety will work fine)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
1/4 tsp crushed red chile peppers
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
1/2 pound beet greens, trimmed & chopped into large pieces (substitute swiss chard, kale or other greens)
3/4 lb orecchiette (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh mozzarella for serving (optional)

Directions:

 

Reconstitute the dried mushrooms by pouring over enough hot water to cover. Allow to stand for 15 – 20 minutes or until soft and pliable. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse the dried mushrooms under cool running water for a moment, then drain again and chop coarsely.

 

Slice the onion into 1/4-inch thick rings. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and reconstituted dried mushrooms and cook until onion is softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the crushed chile peppers, sun-dried tomato strips, vinegar and a little of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Cook until most of the liquid has been reduced, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

 

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the saute pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the chopped greens. Cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved sun-dried tomato/onion mixture, season generously with salt and pepper, and turn off the heat.

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes if using fresh or up to 15 minutes if using dried.

 

Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Return the cooked orecchiette to the pot, along with the greens, 2 tablespoons of butter and the grated parmesan cheese. Return to medium heat, stirring in just enough of the pasta cooking water to make a light sauce that clings to the pasta.

 

Taste and add more salt & pepper as needed. Serve in pasta bowls, adding cubes or slices of fresh mozzarella at the table, stirring them in until they gently melt.

 

Basic Orecchiette Recipe

 

Makes about 3/4 pound of finished pasta

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

1 cup semolina flour

1 cup all-purpose flour water, as needed

 

PREPARATION:

 

Put both flours into a large bowl and mix well to blend. Create a hollow in the middle of the flour and slowly begin adding water, mixing with your hands until a pliable dough forms. Start with about 1/2 cup of water, adding a little more as you go, if necessary.

 

Flour a work surface. Here’s where the real work begins. Knead the pasta dough for AT LEAST 7 minutes, which seems like a lot longer than it actually is when you’re kneading a stiff dough. Set a timer if you need to, because you don’t want to skimp on the kneading time. At first, the dough will feel dry and stiff, but keep at it. After a few minutes, the dough will lighten in color and texture and become smooth and springy. Cover the dough and you both can rest at room temperature for a few minutes.

 

MAKING THE ORRECHIETTE

 

First, cut off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and then roll it into a cylinder about 3/4 inch in diameter. Next, slice the rolled out dough into a series of flat discs, each about 1/4 inch thick.

 

Here’s a neat trick for easily making the “ear” shape. Flour your hands and then press a disc between the ball of your thumb and the palm of your other hand. Rotate your palm (not your thumb) while gently pressing to form a saucer-shaped pasta with no tears. It doesn’t matter if it’s lopsided or irregular in shape – it will taste great and look like the rustic, handmade pasta that it is. Place the finished orecchiette on a floured baking sheet. Repeat until the dough is used up. It goes very quickly once you get the hang of it!

 

Cover the finished orecchiette with a clean towel until ready to use. Any remaining orecchiette can be frozen while fresh or dried completely for storage of up to several months.

 

 

Products suggested for this recipe:



Earthy Delights

2871 Jolly Road

Okemos MI 48864

tel 855.328.8732

fax 517.253.7366

info@earthy.com

How can we help?

Receive our newsletter