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Vegetarian cooking

Orecchiette pasta: 'little ears' of flavor

Associated Press
Published January 19, 2005

This recipe for orecchiette pasta with savory greens came from a wonderful Italian cook, the recipe writers explain.

In Italian, the dish is "Orecchiette Con Cime di Rapa."

The recipe coats hearty pasta with a tangy "cheese" sauce and wilted greens, and comes from Venturesome Vegetarian Cooking (Surrey Books, $21.95) by Associated Press writer J.M. Hirsch and Michelle Hirsch.

Their cookbook is subtitled "Bold Flavors for Meat- and Dairy-Free Meals."

Cime di rapa are turnip greens, but just about any hardy leaf green goes well in this recipe, the writers say.

"The original uses turnip and radish greens, but we prefer kale and spinach. Collards and chard also are good."

The dish is extremely simple to make, but it's rich in both taste and nutrition. The literal translation for orecchiette is "little ears" - and, yes, looking at the small disks of dough, slightly indented at their centers, you have to agree, that its name is just about right.

Orecchiette With Savory Greens

3/4 pound orecchiette pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons capers, crushed with a fork

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1/2 pound bunch of kale, stalks removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons

1/2 cup soy Parmesan cheese

Start to finish time: 30 minutes.

Bring a large stockpot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil and cook orecchiette until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, combine the oil, capers and red pepper flakes in a large, deep skillet.

Mash the capers with a fork, and saute over a medium-high flame 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the kale and reduce the heat to medium. Saute 3 minutes or just until the kale wilts. Add the pasta and toss.

Add the soy Parmesan cheese and toss to combine.

If pasta is too dry, add several tablespoons of broth, water or additional oil.

Makes four servings.

[Last modified January 18, 2005, 10:37:07]

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