MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette

In the Kitchen with Chef Dan

Creamy grilled vegetable orecchiette

Recipe for October 19, 2016: Creamy Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette

Inspiration: If you happen to be craving a light, refreshing pasta, we've got a great new recipe for you. Chef Dan created this dish when he had a craving to combine grilled sweet corn into a pasta dish. The creamy pasta is the perfect contrast to the sweet, grilled corn crunch, while the other veggies add some dynamic flavor while also serving to complement the corn. (Any grilled veggies – especially zucchini – go great in this pasta, so feel free to add in some of your faves for extra texture and flavor.)

MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette
Pictured: Fun fact - Orecchiette means “little ear” in Italian because the pasta noodles look like adorable, delicious ears!
 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. of orecchiette pasta (different shapes of pasta work for different recipes. This shape works really well because it “hugs” the corn kernels and allows for more of those perfectly balanced flavor and texture bites!)
  • 1 small shallot – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. ricotta cheese (adds richness with a mild flavor!)
  • 2 ears of sweet corn
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 2 tbl. white wine 
  • 2 c. rapini – roughly sliced (you can sub in broccolini or mustard greens if you don’t want to use rapini)
  • Handful of basil leaves – chopped 
     
Instructions:
  • Drizzle two ears of sweet corn with olive oil and grill for about 10 minutes, until char marks appear; shave off kernels once charred and set aside.

MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette
Pictured: Grilling the corn.

 

MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette
Pictured: Chef Dan shaves the corn kernels.
 
Instructions, cont.:
  • Add pasta to a pot of boiling salted water (Chef’s Tip: The water should actually taste salty! The trick to great pasta is letting the noodles get infused with the salt as they cook and absorb the water.); cook until al dente and remove from water so it doesn’t continue to cook; reserve 1 c. of the pasta water.
  • Drizzle olive oil into a hot pan and add rapini. Saut until it starts to wilt; add salt and pepper.
  • Add shallots to the same pan and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Finally, add the grilled sweet corn kernels to the rapini/shallot mixture; cook for another 2 minutes.
     
MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette
Pictured: Making sure all of the veggies get nice and mixed.
 
Instructions, cont.:
  • Add ½ c. reserved pasta water to veggie pan.
  • Add a splash of white wine to the veggie pan.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the veggie pan; toss; season with black pepper and salt to taste.
  • Add ricotta to desired creaminess into the pan; toss mixture.
  • Continue adding reserved pasta water until desired texture is achieved.
     
MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette
Pictured: Adding more reserved pasta water.
 
  • After plating your dish, add fresh chopped basil and enjoy!
     
MAD Greens Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette
Pictured: A delicious plate of pasta with grilled corn packed into every bite. MMMmmm.
 
Before we go, if you loved Dan's Creamy Grilled Vegetable Orecchiette recipe, check out some of his other tasty recipe concoctions:

Recipe for August 8, 2016: Summertime Grilled Peach + Arugula Salad

Inspiration: Peaches are at their juicy best in mid-summer thru fall when they’ve had time to ripen. This salad celebrates this wonderful summertime treat by blending sweet caramelized peach flavor with creamy cotija cheese, spicy pecans and salty bacon to create a refreshing and filling salad that’s a perfect side dish at a summertime BBQ or a standalone meal.

MAD Greens Chef Dan Peaches and Arugula Salad
Pictured: This beautiful salad is sure to make your taste buds jump for joy.
 
Chef Dan's Peaches and Arugula Salad
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Grill Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
  • 5 oz. fresh arugula (or 8 cups)
  • 1 tbl. olive oil
  • ¼ lb. thick cut bacon, cut into large pieces and cooked until crispy
  • 4 oz. fresh cotija cheese
  • 4 large peaches, quartered and tossed with approximately 1 tsp. vegetable oil, then grilled until char marks appear
  • ¾ c. MAD Spice Pecans*
  •  1 tbl. Balsamic Reduction
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste
 
MAD Greens Grilling Peaches for Chef Dan Peaches and Arugula Salad
Pictured: Some perfectly grilled peaches.
 
 
MAD Greens Ingredients for Chef Dan Peaches and Arugula Salad
Pictured: Gathering all the neccessary ingredients.
 
MAD Spice Pecans Instructions:
*You can purchase MAD Spice at any MAD Greens restaurant or season your own pecans using your preferred spice.
  • Roughly chop ¾ c. pecans and toss with 1 teaspoon of canola oil and 1 teaspoon of MAD Spice.
  • Spread the coated pecans in a single layer on a baking tray and cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Be careful to not let the pecans burn, they should be brown not black.
 
MAD Greens Arugula Ingredients for Chef Dan Peaches and Arugula Salad
Pictured: The pefect MAD Spice pecans!
 
Balsamic Reduction Instructions:
  • Add ½ c. balsamic vinegar into a sauce pan; heat on the stove until liquid starts to thicken and the volume reduces by half. (Chef’s Tip: The final product should have a syrup consistency.)
  • Set aside.
Salad Instructions:
  • In a large salad bowl, toss fresh arugula with olive oil until greens are coated and arrange on a plate.
  • Add bacon, cotija cheese, MAD Spice pecans, grilled peach slices and gently toss.
  • Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste; serve family style and enjoy!
 
MAD Greens Chef Dan Peaches and Arugula Salad
Pictured: Drizzle that basalmic reduction!
 
 
MAD Greens Chef Dan Peaches and Arugula Salad
Pictured: The finished product; a delicious summer salad!
 
Before we go, if you loved Dan's summertime grilled peach + arugula salad recipe, check out some of his other tasty recipe concoctions:
 
 

Recipe for July 1, 2016: Harissa Chicken Po'Boy with Kale Cabbage Slaw

Inspiration: We love a good summer BBQ, but we wanted to create a cookout-friendly dish that could be a substitute for the standard burger fare...And we think we found it with Chef Dan's Harissa Chicken Po'Boy with Kale Cabbage Salw. The flavor in the Harissa Spice makes this a perfect sandwich to have at those Fourth of July BBQs - or anytime - because it's so easy to make. Harissa, a traditional North African spice, adds some salty, spicy heat that’s counteracted by the refreshing cool of the Kale Cabbage Slaw. If you want to wow your friends and family by making them one of the best chicken sandwiches of their lives...Read on!

MAD Greens Harissa Chicken Sandwich
Pictured: We got to sample the final product after the photo shoot and we'll be honest...These chicken po'boys were pretty incredible.
 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • ¼ c. of Harissa Spice
  • 2 lb. of thin chicken breasts (if breasts are thicker than ½ inch, butterfly the breasts)
  • 2 c. thinly sliced kale
  • 1 c. thinly sliced cabbage
  • ½ red onion – thinly sliced
  • ¼ c. of mayonnaise
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of MAD Spice
  • Juice of two limes
  • Fresh ciabatta bread (or your favorite hearty roll)
     
MAD Greens Harissa Chicken Sandwich
Pictured: You don't have to use ciabatta rolls - go ahead and use your favorite sandwich delivery vessel.
 
Kale Cabbage Slaw Instructions:
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine kale, cabbage, red onion, mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, salt and MAD Spice.
  • Stir until well mixed.
  • Set aside.
     
MAD Greens Harissa Chicken Sandwich
Pictured: Close up of the Kale Cabbage Slaw.
 
Harissa Paste Instructions:
  • A minimum of 3-4 hours before, brine chicken breasts by letting them soak in a liquid solution of 2 qt. water; ¼ c. sugar and ½ c. salt. Use hot water to dissolve the sugar and salt. Then let cool before adding chicken breasts.
  • Stir together ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup of Harissa Spice until a paste is created.
  • Coat each brined chicken breast with the Harissa paste.
  • Saute chicken breasts in a pan on the stove with a light layer of olive oil; about 3 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.
     
MAD Greens Harissa Chicken Sandwich
Pictured: Getting a nice Harissa coating on the chicken breasts.
 
Po’Boy Assembly Instructions:
  • Place each breasts on a fresh ciabatta bun (Toast the bun for a couple of minutes in advance to make sure it’s nice and warm!).
  • Top each chicken breast with a heaping spoonful of Kale Cabbage Slaw.
  • Enjoy!
     
MAD Greens Harissa Chicken Sandwich
Pictured: The more slaw, the better!
 
 
MAD Greens Harissa Chicken SandwichPictured: Finally ready to eat this delicious Chef Dan creation.
 
Before we go, if you loved Dan's Harissa Chicken Po'Boy with Kale Cabbage Slaw recipe, check out some of his other tasty recipe concoctions:
 

Recipe for May 27, 2016: Chef Dan's Blended Burger

A grilled burger is one of the most quintessential summertime meals, so we knew we'd be asking Chef Dan Long, MAD Greens Co-Founder and Chief Culinary Innovator, to come up with an amazing burger-centric AND healthful recipe in honor of Memorial Day weekend. (Or any summer weekend, really. As if we need an excuse to eat something delicious concocted by Chef Dan!)

MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger
Pictured: These are worth the wait, we promise!

We're happy to report that Dan's latest dish is nothing short of a melty cheese-covered meat masterpiece...and a healthy one at that. Dan's blended burgers masterfully combine classic ground beef with flavorful lamb and earthy mushrooms for a lighter alternative to the traditional all-beef patty. Because mushrooms are produced using less water, this blended burger is also more sustainable and healthier than their traditional all-beef counterparts.

MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger
Pictured: Assembling the ingredients.

So, fill up that propane tank and clean off the grill because in less than an hour you'll be serving up the perfect summertime meal.

Chef Dan's Blended Burger

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Grill Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
1 lb. 80% lean ground beef
½ lb. ground lamb
2 c. finely chopped Shitake Mushrooms
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs. mushroom powder*
1 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced and caramelized**
Fresh sliced gruyere cheese
½ c. Fresh Arugula
¼ c. of Garlic + Thyme Aioli
Salt and cracked pepper, to taste
4 Brioche Buns (or hamburger buns of your choice)
 
MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger
Pictured: Chef Dan literally cutting the cheese. Well, gruyere, actually.
 
*For the mushroom powder, take ¼ c. of dried mushrooms and use a spice grinder to grind them into a powder. (A mortar and pestle will work, too.)
 
**To caramelize the onions, add 1 tsp. of olive oil to a saute pan on low heat. Add the sliced onion and cook until they turn translucent with slightly browned edges. This should take approximately 20-30 minutes.
 
Aioli Ingredients + Instructions:
2 cloves of garlic
1 egg
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. vegetable oil (or substitute canola, grapeseed, olive, depending on preference.)
Pinch of salt
 
Using food processor, blend all of the ingredients except the oil. Then slowly add the oil in a steady stream. This should take approximately 2 minutes.
 
Burger Patty Instructions:
 
MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger
Pictured: Forming the patties.
 
  • In a bowl, combine ground beef, lamb, chopped shitake mushrooms, mushroom powder, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and cracked pepper. Mix well and form into patties.
  • Cook on grill until prepared to your liking, adding cheese if desired.
  • Assemble on toasted brioche bun with Aioli, caramelized onions, arugula and other toppings as desired.
  • Enjoy!
MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger
Pictured: Fresh off the grill.
 
 
MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom BurgerPictured: Adding the sauteed onions.
 
 
MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger
Pictured: Applying the final touch!
 
Before we go, if you loved Dan's easy blended burger recipe, check out some of his other tasty recipe concoctions:
 
 
And to learn more about the Blended Burger Project and the movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped mushrooms to make a dish that's healthier and more sustainable, click here.
 

About the Chef

MAD Greens Chef Dan Blended Mushroom Burger

Dan Long is Co-Founder and Chief Culinary Officer for Colorado-based MAD Greens. Dan and business partner Marley Hodgson founded Mad Greens – Eat Better in 2004. They were intent on addressing the lack of fresh, fast and healthy fare available to the average American consumer. In 2016, salad restaurants and consumer demand for them are moving into the mainstream, but back in 2004, MAD Greens was one of the pioneers of the counter-serve salad concept. Today MAD Greens operates 27 corporately-owned restaurants in Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Utah.

After a successful career as an equities trader on Wall Street, Dan attended The Institute of Culinary Education, one of the leading culinary schools in the country.  He subsequently apprenticed at Veritas, one of New York’s premier 3-star restaurants and perennial Zagat favorite and was sous-chef/steward at ONE C.P.S., located in New York’s Plaza Hotel and part of the world renowned Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group.  
 
Dan holds a degree in History from Colorado College along with his culinary degree. In addition to his board membership with the Colorado Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association, Dan serves on the board of directors for the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts.
 
Through MAD Greens, Dan has brought his knowledge and love of fine food to every day eating.