"Orecchiette with Kale, Chickpeas & Sausage"? sort of

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Adapted from Cooking From the Farmers' Market

The thing about cooking is that often people don't have the exact ingredients called for in a recipe. As noted above, some new cookbooks set out to help home cooks learn how to make acceptable substitutions. What I've found over my years in the kitchen is that I've become increasingly more comfortable using a recipe as a theme from which to create variations. When I started pulling ingredients out of the refrigerator to make the recipe below, for example, I noticed a bag of fresh spinach that needed to be eaten, so I decided to throw that in when the kale was just about done cooking. Excellent choice - used up the spinach and added a little more greenery to the dish. I also ended up substituting different types of both pasta and sausage, as my grocery store carries neither orecchiette nor linguica, but did have what I thought were acceptable alternatives in the form of farfalle and flavorful, local all-beef hot dogs. I sliced them on the diagonal and thought them every bit as nice as linguica.

This dish took me 45 minutes to make, and my family thought it was delicious.

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 lb. orecchiette
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 bunches kale, stems removed and leaves cut into 1" pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb. linguica-style sausage, sliced 1/2" thick
  • 1 1/2 c. canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c. grated hard cheese, like Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 -12 minutes or according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, kale, and a pinch of salt. Raise the heat to high, cover the pan, and cook until the kale begins to wilt, 1-2 minutes. Remove the cover and add the sausage. Continue cooking until the leaves are tender and the liquid has evaporated, 3-4 minutes more. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Add the pasta to the kale and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 c. of the pasta water to moisten the mixture, adding more if needed.

Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve right away.

By: Cynthia Shaffer | Jun 27, 2013 08:28 PM | Permalink
I love being able to substitute ingredients specially when it comes to veggies. In our family, we are vegan, so skip the sausage and chicken broth. The garbanzos have protein and vegetable broth works great!

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