Some time ago at Restaurant22, I had a rather excellent dish of gnocchi with feta, wilted bitter leaves, and various kind of bean. My suspicion is that copying it would be harder than it sounds, but yesterday I was in the mood for similar flavours.
A quick Google yields a number of extemporizations around the theme of orecchiette with feta. There are recipes that simply add rocket, or spinach, there were those with roasted peppers, and a couple with shrimp or chicken. It seems to be some kind of combinatorial matrix: pick a leaf, pick a main vegetable, pick an optional supporting veg. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s what Silver Spoon makes most of Italian cooking feel like.
- A little oregano
- Wash the spinach, and wilt it down. When it’s done, drain it, and press as much of the liquid out as you easily can. Put it to one side.
- Slice the courgettes thickly.
- Slice the garlic.
- Set some water boiling for the pasta.
Use plenty of salt, of course.
- Start frying the courgettes.
They take fractionally longer to cook than the pasta, so it’s best to start them first. They’ll take a reasonably high heat and plenty of oil, and ideally they’ll be somewhat golden by the time they’re done.
- After a couple of minutes, start the pasta cooking.
It probably takes around ten minutes in total.
- When the courgettes are nearly done, add the garlic, along with a sprinkle of oregano.
It probably doesn’t want to colour much, so you may need to reduce the heat. Continue frying for a couple of minutes.
- Roughly shred the spinach, and add it to the courgettes. Stir it all through so everything mingles, and any remaining liquid (there shouldn’t be much) cooks off.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and mix it with the spinach, garlic, and courgettes.
- Crumble in the feta and work that through too. It should melt a little but not disintegrate entirely. Optionally, you can garnish by crumbling more over the top before service.