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A complex, colorful stew

  • PHOTO COURTESY NEW YORK TIMES

This chickpea stew is rich with olive oil and Parmesan, and highly adaptable. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, or stick to the basics as this recipe does, adding carrots for sweetness, fennel or celery for depth, and cherry tomatoes for looks.

You don’t have to wilt in the tender greens at the end, but they add a bright, almost herbal note. Baby mustard greens are pleasantly peppery, but spinach, arugula and kale work just as well.

Chickpea stew with orzo and mustard greens

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

• 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

• 1 small fennel bulb or 2 celery stalks, chopped

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• Pinch red pepper flakes, crushed

• 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (optional)

• 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)

• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

• 3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, roughly chopped

• 1/2 cup whole-wheat or regular orzo

• 1 quart baby mustard greens or spinach, loosely packed

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

• Chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)

• 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated, more as needed

Directions:

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, fennel or celery, and onion. Cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper and rosemary, if using, and cook another 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, if using, or water, plus an additional 2 cups water and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, add the chickpeas, tomatoes and orzo. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. Uncover and stir in the greens, letting them simmer until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add more water if you want the mixture to be more souplike, and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and top with chopped scallions (if desired), grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Total time: 25 minutes, serves 4-6.

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