The cold weather is here and last week I made three soups with the latter being this thick, rustic and very filling chickpea soup. The soup eats like a meal with maybe just some crusty bread on the side or serve a smaller serving if you wish the soup to be merely a starter.
This chickpea soup is also economical as it makes for good use in the form of leftovers. I’ve made this soup stretch into being used in an entirely different dish – chickpea soup morphed into a pasta dish! In Greek taverna cuisine, chickpeas and shrimp are a wonderful pairing and I knew I’d want this duo to appear again on my plate and to add some “icing on the cake”, a little crispy bacon.
Some words about the pasta: the striftaria pasta were bought from a farmer’s market in Greece this past summer. Homemade with semolina flour, salt and water. The pasta shape are in the form of a tight cork screw and I thought, would be ideal to pick up the sauce from the leftover chickpea soup.
Other components of this dish? I tossed some radish tops (greens) in with the pasta, the bacon was chopped and added into a small skillet with some water to help render the fat and cooked until crispy. The shrimp were tossed in olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and just a hint of chilli flakes to help warm us up now that Winter is near, As an added treat, I sauteed the shrimp in a hot skillet and then removed them. In the same same skillet, I added some Mousto Balsamic vinegar and reduced it for a couple of minutes until syrupy. The shrimp were thrown in with the syrup and simply crowned on each pasta serving.
Some dried Greek oregano, chopped scallion greens and radish greens (tops) were tossed in the pasta and then the shrimp divided and served atop each portion. The cheese I used in this instance was dried Mizithra cheese. This cheese comes some a salted ricotta/whey cheese that comes in a ball form and it’s grated/used to top Greek dishes. Ask for dried Mizithra as your local Greek grocer. Serve as a course or a main..a fine pasta dish that bridges rustic and posh, Enjoy!
Striftaria Pasta With Chickpeas, Shrimp & Crispy Bacon
500 gr. Striftaria pasta (you could use cavatelli)
2 cups of Chickpea Soup
1 cup of radish greens (or any other greens like arugula or baby spinach)
4 rashers of bacon, chopped
12 raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tsp. smoked paprika
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
pinch of chilli flakes
4 Tbsp. of Mousto Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of scallion greens, roughly chopped
2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
grated dry Mizithra cheese
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and add your pasta and bring back to a boil. Cook according to packette instructions ( I cooked mine for 7 minutes).
- In the meantime, place your bacon in a skillet with a couple of Tbsp. of water and cook over medium heat. The water will help render the fat then evaporate and allow the bacon to crisp-up in it’s own fat.
- Meanwhile, rinse and pat-dry your shrimp. Toss in some olive oil, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper. As soon as your bacon has crisped up, remove with a slotted spoon and pour off any excess fat (leave about Tbsp. in the skillet). Turn the heat up to a medium-high and saute your shrimp until pink on both sides then reserve.
- In the same skillet, turn the heat back down to medium and add your Moust0 Balsamic vinegar and reduce until it becomes a syrup. Add the shrimp back in the skillet and toss to coat. Reserve and keep warm.
- By now your pasta should be ready. Strain the pasta and add back into the pot along with the reserved chickpea soup. Stir to coat the pasta well over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Now add the radish greens, scallions, some grated Mizithra and dried Greek oregano and toss to mix in.
- Divide and plate and place 4 shrimp in the center of each serving, sprinkle some bacon bits and top with some more grated Mizithra cheese.
- Serve with a chilled Pavlou Kappa P11 Blanc de Noir. This wine is made of 8% Xinomavro and 20% Riesling. The skins of the Ximomavro grape are removed just after crushing so as to retain the white wine colour.
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