For a lighter main course, do this one-dish supper of pasta with greens, chickpeas and shrimp. If you prefer a strictly vegetarian meal, double up on the onion and the chickpeas, eliminating the shrimp.
Take care with chile. If it's too hot, it will overwhelm the dish. Use any medium-hot chile, like red jalapeños. Chop and measure everything before beginning the recipe. Cook the pasta, reserve some of its water, drain it and immediately start the sauce.
1/4 medium red onion
1 small Italian frying pepper, or sweet red bell pepper
1 fresh medium-hot chile pepper, stemmed and seeded (Italian hot peppers, cherry peppers, pepperoncini or red jalapeño)
4 plump black olives (Sicilian or Kalamata), pitted
1/2 pound fusilli pasta
3 quarts salted, boiling water
1 to 2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 of a 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 big handfuls (1/4 pound, 2 tightly-packed cups) mixed young organic salad greens
Dandelion or curly endive leaves, coarsely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound fresh jumbo shrimp, shelled and cut crosswise into thirds
1/2 cup snipped chives or thin sliced scallion tops
Chop the onion, peppers and olives together into 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch pieces. Cook the pasta in fiercely boiling water, stirring often until tender, yet firm to the bite. Remove 1/4-cup pasta water, draining pasta in a colander. While pasta boils, heat oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers and chickpeas, with generous sprinkles of salt and pepper. Sauté three to five minutes, or until onions are gold at their edges.
Stir in greens and garlic, cooking about 10 seconds, or until greens barely soften. Stir in shrimp. Cook a few moments till barely firm. The greens will be wilted. Blend in pasta water, scraping up glaze from the bottom of pan. Cook 30 seconds, or until shrimp are firm but juicy. Immediately toss with pasta and chives, tasting for seasoning. Turn into a warmed bowl and serve.
Adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Copyright © 2001 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new, and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. You have the power to keep us cooking, sharing these stories, and helping you in the kitchen.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table.