(a food photographer I am not- plates from Kate Spade)
I have long wanted to add more meat-free meals to my life. I’ve been cutting out red meat and pork from my diet most of the time (for personal “I love animals” reasons, not for a diet). However we eat a lot of chicken. SO MUCH CHICKEN. And when I dine out I love to order fish because others cook it so much better than I do. And yes, I know these are also animals but I have less warm fuzzy feelings for chickens and fish then I do for larger mammals. So while I will continue to eat these things, I really want to have some yummy meals I can prepare that do not include any meat at all. There is one problem though…. I have a very hungry husband who likes to eat ALL the animals. Tricky.
So the other night I persuaded him to let me prepare a recipe I saw in last month’s Martha Stewart magazine that happened to be meat-free but I thought looked really filling and delicious- “One Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives”. Holy hell you guys, it was DELICIOUS and guess who loved it? Andrew! (Granted he did say “this would be awesome with some spicy sausage in it…”) But still, he was full and happy with it as is! I loved it so much I saved the extra and ate it the next day for lunch. And the best part- it’s beyond easy and affordable to make. Just throw everything into the skillet and wait 15 minutes! I’m no chef and I have little free time so meals like these are gold to me!
Here’s the recipe:
- 12 ounces orecchiette
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 6-inch sprig rosemary
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving
- 2 cups baby arugula (about 2 ounces)
Combine pasta, chickpeas, olives, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, oil, pepper flakes, and 5 cups water (** note from Erin- I’d use 4 cups water and add a little at the end if needed to thicken instead- I thought this was too much water) in a large straight-sided skillet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and liquid is reduced to a sauce that coats pasta, 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat, discard rosemary, and stir in cheese. Add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, to thin sauce if necessary. Divide pasta and arugula among bowls and serve immediately, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with cheese and pepper flakes.