March 26, 2011

Pasta With Arugula, Chorizo and Pine Nuts

A couple times a year America's Test Kitchen releases a collection of 30-Minute Suppers.  The newest edition (Spring 2011) featured a recipe that inspired me to come up with one of my own.

The recipe in question is one for Penne with Arugula, Chorizo and Romano.   I liked their recipe well enough, but there were some things I thought would make it more to our tastes.   The first change was to a different sort of pasta.   Penne would have been fine, as there would be lots of bits of flavorful shallots, garlic and bits of Romano cheese to end up inside the pieces of penne, but I we prefer the slightly lighter texture of rotini, and its curves would do just as good a job of catching and holding the tasty bits.   I also thought the dish could use another texture, and that it might benefit from a bit of nutty flavor.   After considering and rejecting some other nut options, I decided to go with pine nuts.

I thought the resulting dish was okay, but nothing spectacular.   The flavors did blend nicely, and it came together really quickly - well under 30 minutes - but neither of us was fond enough of this one that I'm likely to make it again.  You might feel differently, though, particularly if you're a fan of pasta with simple sauces, or of chorizo.   If that's the case, you might want to try out either this recipe or the one in the ATK book.

Pasta with Arugula, Chorizo and Pine Nuts

yield = 4-5 servings

1             tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8             ounces chorizo, sliced into thin discs
3             large shallots, chopped fine
1/4          cup pine nuts
4             teaspoons minced garlic
1/2          cup dry white wine
1             cup low-sodium chicken broth
1             tablespoon table salt
1             pound pasta of choice (I used rotini)
1             cup grated Romano cheese
5             ounces arugula

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.   Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add chorizo and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer cooked chorizo to a plate lined with paper towels.

Add shallots to skillet.  Cook 3 minutes, then add pine nuts and cook until the shallots are softened (about 2 more minutes), then add garlic and cook 30 seconds.  Add wine and cook to reduce by half, then add chicken broth and cook until the sauce thickens (3-5 minutes).

Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook pasta to desired doneness.  Drain pasta and transfer it to a serving bowl.  Add sauce, chorizo, cheese and arugula and toss thoroughly until the arugula is slightly wilted (about 1 minute).  Serve.

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