Main Dishes

Orecchiette with Wilted Spinach, Chickpeas and Pimentón

Recipe and photo courtesy of Viviane Bauquet Farre of Food & Style


For the pasta

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
  • 12 oz (340gr) Orecchiette
  • 1/3 cup Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves – skinned and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pimentón dulce (Spanish smoked, sweet paprika)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1–15 oz canned chickpeas – drained
  • 12 oz (340gr) baby spinach – rinsed and spun dry
  • 1/3 cup cooking liquid from chickpeas or pasta water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the garnishes

  • Aged Manchego - shaved (use vegetable hand-peeler)
  • Arbequina extra virgin olive oil


  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until tender but still al dente. Drain well.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the California Olive Ranch Arbequina Olive Oil and garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic begins to sizzle, stirring constantly and making sure it doesn’t brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Just before the pasta is ready, reheat the garlic oil over high heat. As soon as the garlic sizzles, add the cayenne, pimenton, chickpeas and spinach. Toss until the spinach starts to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pasta, cooking liquid from chickpeas or pasta water, salt and pepper. Toss quickly and remove from heat.
  4. Spoon pasta into bowls. Garnish with Manchego shavings, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.
Time Level Yield
20 minutes Moderate 4 servings