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Pasta with chorizo, chickpeas, and spinach

One of the most challenging aspects of vending at the Farmers Market is resisting the urge to spend your entire earnings while you're there. Gotta get a baguette from Village… we should probably get some cheese to go with it for lunch. Oh, I need soap, too. Ooh! Cookies!! Aaaand I'm broke. But at least my money's going to the right places.

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During one such Saturday at Coppell Farmers Market, my cute husband picked up a pound of lovely fresh chorizo from our friends at Livestock First Ranch, a couple booths down. It's been in the freezer for a couple of months, I've really never cooked with fresh chorizo before and didn't know what to do with it. So when this recipe popped up on Dinner Rush, I jumped on it. That's a great tool, by the way, for when you have no idea what you want to cook but know it needs to be interesting, balanced, well reviewed, and fairly quick. Bookmark it.

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The original recipe was missing something green, so I added some of our fantastic spinach. For generally forgiving recipes like pasta, I prefer to incorporate something vegetal to the main pot rather than make a separate side, and leafy greens are the easiest to use like this. Our spinach is much bulkier than the wussy little green lilypads from your Megamart; I would probably use several more handfuls if that was all I had. It doesn't need to be all you have, though, just come out to Coppell this Saturday and get some of our spinach! The above variety is called Bloomsdale, each of those leaves is about the size of my face. It doesn't mess around.

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Don't be tempted to skip the parsley, cheese, and lemon zest at the end, especially the lemon. It changes the whole dish. Just do it.

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1 lb fresh pork chorizo

1/2 a medium yellow onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

pinch of red pepper flakes, depending on how hot your chorizo is

1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika, depending on how much is in your chorizo

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

~ 10-12 oz fresh spinach, sliced into ribbons

12 oz small dried pasta, I used farfalle as they are my cute husband's favorite

handful of freshly grated Parmesan

zest of one lemon

handful of minced Italian parsley

Set a large pot of salted water to boil for your pasta.

Brown the chorizo in a large heavy pot with a drizzle of olive oil, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until the chorizo is done and onions are softened. Next add the red pepper flakes and smoked paprika, if using, along with the tomato paste, letting it darken and start to stick to the bottom of the pot for a minute or two. Pour in the broth, add the chickpeas, and let simmer and reduce while you cook your pasta. Pull the pasta just a minute shy of being done, drain and set aside. 

After about 15 minutes, your sauce should be reduced by at least half. Add the spinach and allow to wilt. Taste for seasoning, some sausage is much saltier or spicier than others, so adjust if necessary. Allow to cook another five minutes or so, until there's only a little bit of liquid left to the sauce, then add the pasta and toss through until done. Top with the parsley, Parmesan, and lemon zest. 

Serves 6.