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Orecchiette with Chorizo and Swiss Chard Recipe

We’re always looking for a new fast and flavorful pasta dish for a weeknight meal, and we came across this recipe in Chef Michael Symon’s new book, Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers. The Mexican chorizo adds tons of savory flavor to the Swiss chard and cannellini beans. To finish the dish, toss in some Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon, and butter.

What to buy: Mexican chorizo (not to be confused with its Spanish counterpart) is a fresh pork sausage that must be cooked prior to eating. It can be mild or spicy, and is found at gourmet markets or online. If you can’t find Mexican chorizo, you can sub in any fresh, spicy sausage.

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound red Swiss chard
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 12 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo (casings removed if links)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/4 cups cooked beans)phpThumb_generated_thumbnail
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce), plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves and stems
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 medium lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, trim the ends from the chard stems and discard. Cut off the stems at the base of the leaves and slice the stems crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces; place in a small bowl and set aside. Stack the leaves, cut them in half lengthwise, then coarsely chop them into bite-sized pieces; set aside.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than instructed by the package directions. Meanwhile, heat a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and set it aside.
  4. Add the Swiss chard stems to the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the beans, drained pasta, and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until the pasta is fully cooked, adding more pasta water as needed, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the measured cheese, parsley, lemon zest and juice, butter, and oil. Stir until well combined and the butter has melted. Serve with extra Parmesan on the side.

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