Like many vegetable lovers, I’ve experienced mustard greens mostly as a salad ingredient. Those pungent little leaves give a nice punch to what can otherwise be as mild as, well, lettuce. But they’re also becoming a favorite ingredient in heartier dishes, especially because they’re available at farmers markets most, if not all, of the year.
That same spicy flavor that sparks up a salad can add life to a quick pasta dish, in which mustard greens perform like a cross between spinach and broccoli rabe, with all the tenderness of the former and the personality of the latter. Orecchiette, that cute ear-shaped pasta, is a perfect choice for this recipe: The sauteed greens — along with shaved pecorino-Romano cheese for a little richness — nestle right in those little cups.