Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pasta with Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Feta

I've had enough of cold, windy, and snowy weather and am so ready for Spring. This pasta recipe reminds me of that time of year when you have wonderful, fresh produce from your garden or the local farmer's market. It's so colorful and hearty, even though there isn't any meat in it.  You can cut the tomatoes in half to make a bit more of a sauce, but, leaving them whole gives you a pop of flavor when you bite into them. And, the addition of a little lemon zest gives it that hint of freshness that portends the growing season to come. It was my first introduction to Swiss chard and I love it!  Try it and let me know what you think.

Pasta with Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Feta
(adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentis)
Serves 3-4, total cost is $10.40

8 oz. orecchiette or small shells
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
6 oz. or 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and dried and ripped into 2-3” pieces
6 oz. baby spinach
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes
4 oz. feta cheese, cut into ¼“ cubes or crumbled
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Wipe the pasta pot out with a towel, and over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and discard. Add the Swiss chard and cook until wilted. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the beans and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the pasta, half of the cheese, the lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little of the pasta water.  Sprinkle some of the remaining cheese on top when you serve it.

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