Orecchiette with Walnut-Garlic Breadcrumbs & Green Beans

This week I was perusing pasta salad recipes, which make me think of summer and are almost always really easy to put together. I love these spreads that Cooking Light magazine has been doing in recent months – they take one key ingredient (often grains) like quinoa, pizza dough, rice, etc. and give you a bunch of variations.

The June issue features pasta and some really tasty sound combinations like melon, mint, and parmesan cheese or arugula, radishes, walnuts, and goat cheese. Check out the online slideshow here.

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So disclaimer that the following recipe is not one of the above, but something I stumbled upon later and was enticed by the walnut breadcrumb idea. I loved the idea of making some garlicky  breadcrumbs from scratch, and thought walnuts would be a great nutty addition. I’ll warn you that this recipe is very, very garlicky, so be sure to reduce the number of garlic gloves if you’re not a true garlic lover.

Toasting the garlic and breadcrumbs here really blends the flavors and brings out the nuttiness of the walnuts (I also used multigrain bread with seeds, so extra nutty). I started getting a little overexcited when the aromas started wafting up from the stove. The recipe calls for using French baguette, but who actually keeps a baguette on hand? So I used two ends of my multigrain loaf because a) what else was I going to do with them? and b) I find that crusts make for better breadcrumbs.

The recipe also called for serving hardboiled eggs alongside it, which actually didn’t sit so well with me – I would go with chicken or some other protein next time. I went with orecchiette because it’s one of my favorite pastas – I love the way that each piece turns into a little pocket for whatever sauce or flavorings your’re mixing in. And the haricoverts were added to help get my vegetable serving in for the day 🙂

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Don’t forget the parmesan cheese – it melts slightly on top of the warm pasta and adds an extra layer of deliciousness. Weeknight dinner success!

Orecchiette with Walnut-Garlic Breadcrumbs & Green Beans

  •  2 eggs, boiled (see note below)
  • 2 sliced bread ends (I used multigrain)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2-3 garlic gloves, depending on your love for garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 – 1 cup orecchiette – or whatever pasta you have on hand
  • large bunch of haricoverts, sliced in half on the diagonal
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • parmesan cheese strips
  1. First, boil the eegs. I like to put the eggs in a small pot and fill it with water so it just covers the top of them. Put the pot over high heat and heat until boiling. Then turn off the heat and leave the pot on the stove for 10 minutes. Immediately dunk your eggs in cold water. Peel and cut in half.
  2. To make the breadcrumbs, combine the walnuts and bread slices in a food processor. Pulse until you have fine crumbs.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a big pot of boiling water until boiling. Add your pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente (right before it gets too chewy). Also place the haricoverts in a microwave safe dish, cover with water, and microwave for 1 minute, then drain.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add your minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 45-60 seconds. Add the breadcrumbs and saute for about 5 minutes or until most of the oil is absorbed and the breadcrumbs are nearly dry.
  5. Add your cooked pasta, haricoverts, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
  6. Plate the pasta mixture and add a sliced egg alongside. Take a vegetable peeler to the parmesan cheese to create nice strips. I like to crack a little fresh pepper over my eggs.

Serves 2. Or if you have my appetite and just got back from the gym, serves one with a few bites leftover for the next day.

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