My good friend and neighbor, Krista, has been cooking up a storm as part of her New Year resolutions. She graciously invites me over to eat and drink exceptional wine on the regular. I am forever grateful.
Krista picks her vegetarian recipes at random, but boy she has not missed the mark yet. Here is the first of two from New York Times Cooking that had me coming back for more, more, more. The recipe, from Melissa Clark, gives me rich memories of my Italian vacation eating ribollita in Tuscany.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small fennel bulb or 2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary(optional)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¾ cup roughly chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
½ cup whole-wheat or regular orzo
1 quart loosely packed baby mustard greens or spinach (about 5 ounces)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, more as needed
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, fennel or celery, and onion. Cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper and rosemary, if using and cook another 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, if using or water, plus an additional 2 cups water and bring to a boil.
Once the mixture is boiling, add the chickpeas, tomatoes and orzo. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. Uncover and stir in the greens, letting them simmer until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add more water if you want the mixture to be more soup like, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped scallions (if desired), grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Krista’s only NOTE is to cook the orzo in the broth until just al dente and the starch has released itself. Strain and reserve separately until you are ready to serve…and to finish the whole thing with a big pat of butter. I concur!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!