Orecchiette with Mustard Greens and Tomatoes
The sweetness of ripe tomato and onion are a foil for the bite of the mustard greens. Using different colored tomatoes will add some nice color top the dish. The shape of the pasta is just right for holding the ingredients and adds some texture to the dish.
1 bunch of mustard greens, leaves separated from any tough stems, and washed well
1 medium brown onion, peeled and cut into âĽ inch dice
2 whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
0.5 cups reserved pasta water
1 extra virgin olive oil
1 salt and pepper to taste
0.75 pounds orecchiette pastaShop this recipe
Prep:Â Peel, de-germ, and minceÂ garlic cloves. Core, seed, and cut tomatoes into Â˝ inches.
1. Start water for pasta, being sure to salt the water well.
2. In another pot, heat enough water to blanch the mustard greens in, being sure to salt it well also.
3.Â While the water comes to a boil, heat a 10-inch sautĂ© pan over medium heat. When hot, film the pan with oil and heat oil. Add the onions and sautĂ© gently to soften onions.
4.Â When the water for the mustard boils, blanch the greens in the water just long enough to wilt them, then remove from the water and drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out extra water and chop into roughly Â˝ inch bits.
5.Â When the water for the pasta boils, cook the pasta according to instructions. Reserve a Â˝ cup of cooking water for sauce.Â
6.Â While the pasta is cooking, add a little oil to the pan with the onions, and when hot, add the garlic. Cook until garlic in soft and fragrant.
7.Â Add the chopped greens to the pan and stir to mix with the garlic and the onions. Cook to heat through, adding oil if the pan seems dry.
8. Turn up the heat to high and add the tomatoes to the pan. Toss to mix tomatoes in and cook to warm the tomatoes.
9.Â Drizzle in the vinegar and cook to reduce by 80%. This will take only a moment.
10.Â Make a well in the center of the vegetables and add the pasta water. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of the oil into the well and stir to combine, yielding a â€śsauce. Toss with the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and add the pasta to the pan.
11.Â Toss, mixing the pasta with the â€śsauceâ€ť, and season if needed.Â Serve hot.
Chefâ€™s Tips and Notes:
You could make this dish with Italian sausage if you want. Just get loose sausage or slice dome links and cook them first, then cook everything else in the fat from the sausages. You could add chili flakes to the dish to heat it up if you like, and you could squeeze lemon juice over the greens instead of using vinegar. For cheese, Parmesan or Romano would work, but I would go with fresh mozzarella torn up and scattered over the dish. I like the idea of the sweet and mild cheese melting over the greens to add a soothing counterpoint to forward taste of the mustard. Other types of pasta besides orecchiette to use-campanelle, cascarecce, cavatelli, or gnochetti.