What's better than making pasta with your own olive oil and home cured olives? Not much! Except maybe making pasta with garden grown spring greens and red pepper flakes. In another year or two, our caper plant might even produce fruit, which will make this recipe homemade times a million!
Last Christmas, my family and I went out olive picking near my sister's house in an abandoned orchard along Folsom, CA's Pioneer Express Trail. Between the six of us who foraged for these Mission olives, we picked at least 40 pounds, and didn't even make a dent in any of the lush trees! My husband Adrian and I took half of the bounty, determined to cure olives successfully for the first time and make our own oil.
After week of some intense labor where we pitted olives by hand for days, Adrian fashioned his own olive oil press, and we processed every last olive we picked! By the end of January, we had a few jars of the yummiest olives and olive oil, although a little less oil than we hoped. Next year we'll just buy a press!
The whole process was quite a labor of love, but we are so proud to be able to use our olives and oil in our home cooking.
My pasta recipe below was the perfect medium for our homemade/homegrown ingredients. I used Banza's chickpea rotini pasta, which is gluten-free, and was actually very impressed how well their pasta mimics wheat pasta! The chickpeas add tons of additional protein and fiber and have less net carbohydrates than traditional pasta. [Full disclosure: Banza sent me free product to sample]. An addition of spring greens from my garden (kale rabe, kale greens, and watercress) made this pasta not only extremely yummy, but pretty darn healthy!
Whether or not you're making this recipe with your own home-cured olives, you will certainly enjoy it! The flavors are on point and the pasta is so very comforting.
Cheesy Chickpea Pasta with Spring Greens, Tomatoes, and Olives
Time: 20 Minutes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz Banza Chickpea Rotini
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 oz canned anchovies in olive oil
½ cup mission olives, halved, or Kalamata olives
3 tbsp capers
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
8 oz mixed spring greens, such as kale, rapini, watercress
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, divided
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente, about 6-7 minutes. Drain and return the rotini to the pot.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, anchovies with oil, olives, capers, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer the sauce for four minutes, crushing the tomatoes with a spoon. Slowly add spring greens to the sauce and stir until all of the greens have wilted.
Transfer pasta to the skillet and gently toss with ¾ cup parmesan cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir until pasta and cheese are well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
Serve pasta in bowls and garnish with remaining parmesan cheese.