Though she’s not on-air anymore (reruns excepted), Sara Moulton is a good example why the site is so valuable. Her food is a lot like her personality: competent, comforting, and quietly, wickedly neat. Simple, filling, and tasty as all get out, Orecchiette (er, Macaroni) with Broccoli and Chickpeas is a good example of her virtuosity.
This is 1-1/2 times the original recipe (but with ½ the olive oil), since I don’t like having half-cans of chickpeas or diced tomatoes lying around. I use everything but the cheese, too, since I can’t justify a buying a hunk of romano right now. As an added bonus, the dish tastes great cold, and is a godsend for lunch the next day.
Sara Moulton’s Orecchiette (er, Macaroni) with Broccoli and Chickpeas
4 servings - 1-3/4 cups each
Adapted from Sara Moulton.
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbsp salt, plus more to taste
1-1/2 generous cup broccoli florets
6 ounces orecchiette or elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons minced yellow onion, optional
1-1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 14.5 oz. can diced plum tomatoes, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated pecorino, for serving, optional
1) In a small bowl, stir chickpeas with a tiny bit of olive oil. Let sit.
2) Fill a medium bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes. Set aside.
2) Get out a large pot, add water, and bring to a boil. Add salt. Add broccoli and cook about 4 minutes, until it's crisp-tender, but not soft. Pick up broccoli with tongs or a slotted spoon and drop into ice bath. After a few minutes, drain the ice bath and set broccoli aside.
3) While broccoli is cooling, add pasta to still-boiling pot of broccoli water and cook. When finished, drain pasta and set aside.
4) Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet (nonstick, if you can) over medium heat. If using onion, add it and cook about 8 minutes, until soft. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and chickpeas and cook until heated, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and broccoli and warm through. Salt and pepper to taste.
4) Add pasta and it to the broccoli-tomato mixture and heat through. Serve sprinkled with pecorino.
Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
324 calories, 7.8 g fat, $0.93
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained: 350 calories, 7 g fat, $0.50
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil: 180 calories, 21 g fat, $0.12
1 Tbsp salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.06
1-1/2 generous cups broccoli florets or broccoli rabe: 30 calories, 0 g fat, $1.20
6 ounces orecchiette (I sub in macaroni): 630 calories, 3 g fat, $0.19
6 tablespoons minced yellow onion: 15 calories, 0 g fat, $0.13
1-1/2 tablespoon minced garlic: 15 calories, 0 g fat, $0.15
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes: negligible calories and fat, $0.15
1 14.5 oz. can diced canned plum tomatoes: 75 calories, 0 g fat, $1.19
Freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
TOTAL: 1295 calories, 31 g fat, $3.70
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 324 calories, 7.8 g fat, $0.93