Chef Missy Robbins of Brooklyn’s Lilia restaurant swaps chickpeas for pasta in her riff on spicy pomodoro. She finishes the dish with a shower of fresh herbs and salty pecorino cheese.
In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: It comes as little surprise that our pick for 2017 is a quick, simple, and eminently usable vegetable-based dish. The recipe is from Missy Robbins of Brooklyn’s award-winning Lilia restaurant, who turns classic pasta al pomodoro on its head. In her spicy, healthy, and addictive version, Robbins (who was named a Best New Chef in 2010 for her cooking at A Voce) swaps out pasta in favor of nourishing chickpeas and tangles of kale. She says, “I created this dish when I was watching my weight, and I needed the satisfaction and flavor of a good red-sauce pasta— without using pasta. It’s an amazing one-pan dish that’s packed with richness but doesn’t take a long time to make.” For additional flavor, she tops the bowl with fresh herbs and salty pecorino Romano.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
One 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
One 8-ounce bunch of Tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Torn basil and marjoram leaves, for garnish
Finely grated Pecorino Romano, for serving
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes.
Stir the kale into the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Spoon into bowls and garnish with torn basil and marjoram leaves. Top with finely grated pecorino and serve hot.
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Review Body: Very healthy, not very filling, I would double this to have more leftovers or serve it with some type of protein. The spicy pomodoro sauce is really good tho. I added some lemon juice for acidity and that really brought the dish together. Didn't have marjoram leave available, but i don't think they were terribly missed, the basil was plenty.
Review Rating: 4
Date Published: 2017-02-08
Author Name: Diana Cole
Review Body: We enjoyed this recipe! It is versatile and delicious. Consider starting with less crushed red pepper if anyone is sensitive to it. Also, we served some pasta on the side, adding individually to our tastes. Good addition.
Review Rating: 5
Date Published: 2017-02-13
Author Name: jm83422p
Review Body: I thought this was great! I want to try in the fall with fresh tomatoes.... I did add fresh fennel just before serving and smoked paprika to spice mixture. I served over spaghetti squash and finished it with roasted shrimp (tossed in smoked paprika, garlic, olive oil, and a little lemon juice).
Review Rating: 4
Date Published: 2017-03-31
Author Name: bhunte02
Review Body: I loved this even though I don't always love fennel. I cut the fennel by 1/2 a tsp, served over quinoa, and topped with ricotta salata--super yum!
Date Published: 2017-07-27
Author Name: Peggy Guerin
Review Body: Really tasty! I made the following modifications: added one additional can of crushed tomatoes. Sauteed some extra garlic with a tsp. of chili power along with the fennel before adding a small diced onion. Seasoned with 1 tsp. of smoked salt and finished it with 2 Tbs of lemon juice. Served it over cooked rice. A great veggie stew.
Date Published: 2017-03-04
Author Name: rahappygirl123
Review Body: Sorry, I didn't really care for this one. Tasted too healthy for me.