Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pasta with Greens, Garbanzos & Feta Cheese

A pot full of tasty pasta

Here's the second pasta dish from out latest class. Super easy and quick. It actually takes longer to boil the water and cook the pasta than it does to put the final dish together. The lemon zest is key. Along with the feta cheese and tomatoes, it brings some bold bright flavors to a pot full of earthy ingredients.

The recipe calls for orecchiette (which means "little ears" in Italian) or small shells. Any smallish pasta will work. We used campanelle (which means "bellflower" in Italian) and that worked just as well. We found that it was necessary to cook the pasta for nearly 12 minutes, but we are cooking this at an altitude of 5400 feet. If you are at sea level, it will probably be al dente in 10 minutes.

Pasta with Greens, Garbanzos & Feta Cheese
(serves 4, cost is $10.30)

8 oz. orecchiette or small shells
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
12 ounces baby spinach
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes
4 ounces feta cheese, cut into ¼“ cubes or crumbled
1 teaspoon lemon zest (see Note)
Salt and black 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 8-12 minutes. Reserve about a 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water and drain 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 spoon, remove the garlic and discard.

Add the spinach, 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. The feta cheese is quite salty so be careful not to over-salt. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little of the pasta water. Garnish with the remaining cheese and serve.

Note: How do you zest an lemon if you don't have a lemon zester? Use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel off strips of lemon peel. Try to get as little of the white pith as possible since it is terribly bitter. After you have peeled about ½ the lemon, which should be enough for this dish, mince it. It smells intensely lemony and provides great flavor to this dish, so don't leave it out.
One of our students checking out the intense aroma of lemon zest

No comments:

Post a Comment