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Pasta with Swiss Chard

I love that my kid is full of surprises. Not the bad ones…and, just guessing everyone’s kids have delivered some of those not-so-good surprises. It’s the good ones I love. The ones that light up your face and heart with a smile.

When my son left home for college he left as a typical high school kid. He came back a much more enlightened being. One of those enlightenments came in the form of food appreciation. All of a sudden he liked—or at least was willing to try—things he’d never, ever before put in his mouth.  Eating consistently mediocre institutional food has a good side—the food served at home instantaneously becomes coveted and delicious.

(I type this as his best bud sits here munching chocolate covered gummy bears while waiting to shove off for a movie. Kid you not.)

Since the kid returned to the fold I’ve been happily watching him consume salads daily. Woohoo!

It seemed like a stretch to get him to try this pasta dish—a favorite recipe from my sister. But, he ate it and announced he liked it. He likes chard. Woohoo! (Yes, this is a two Woohoo! post.)

First salad, then chard, what’s next? Maybe kale? We’ll just have to see.

A few notes about some of the ingredients:

  • The chard and pasta amounts can be adjusted up or down to accommodate the number of servings you want. I would say 1/2 lb. each chard and pasta will feed two or three people. In my humble opinion, the more chard the better. (In fact, you can make just the chard and no pasta, if you prefer) So, if I get 3/4 of a pound of chard from the farm I’ll use it all with half a pound of pasta for the three of us.  Chard, like most greens cooks down significantly.
  • Olive Oil - I always use First Cold Press olive oil. Remember, the better the olive oil the better your dish will taste.
  • We’ve been getting green garlic and spring onions from the organic CSA so I’m using them in my recipes where I can. I cut off the “hairy” ends and chop them well up the stalk—using an inch or two of the white stalk as well as the bulb. If you don’t have access to these regular garlic and onions will work just as well.
  • We get rainbow chard from the garden. It’s delicious so I recommend using that. However, any chard will work well in this recipe.


Pasta with Swiss Chard

Olive oil

1 stalk green garlic (or 2 cloves garlic)

2 spring onions (or one small onion)

1/2 to 1 pound Swiss Chard, rinsed (see bullet one above)

1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth

2 ripe tomatoes (or 1 cup tomato sauce)

salt and pepper

6 to 12 oz. gluten-free pasta (see bullet one above)

Place a large pot filled with water on high heat. Add about a half a teaspoon of salt to the water when it starts to boil. Prepare the pasta as instructed on the package but subtract two minutes of cooking time. So, if the package says 9 minutes (as is the case with the Bionaturae penne I used) then boil for 7 minutes. Drain, but reserve a cup of the pasta water. I usually put the water on to boil before I begin to prepare the chard so the pasta cooks while the chard is cooking.

Pour a few turns of olive oil into a large skillet and place on a burner set at medium heat to warm. Coarsely dice the green garlic (alternatively, if using garlic cloves, smash then dice them) and onions. Add to the pan and give it a good stir. You want the garlic and onions to cook for a few minutes until they start to wilt and become translucent. Take care not to burn them.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the chard, dice and add to the pan. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise. Then turn the leaves and cut into one-inch strips along the short side. Add to the pan and sauté, turning with tongs until they begin to wilt. Add another glug or two of oil if needed. (You may have to add the chard in batches if your pan can’t accommodate the entire amount at one time. As the chard wilts just add more fresh chard to the pan until it’s all been added.)

Dice the tomatoes (or if fresh tomatoes aren’t available about a cup of tomato sauce will work) and add to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything gently together with the tongs or a wooden spoon. Add the broth and simmer for a few minutes.

Place the drained pasta and about a half a cup of the pasta water (more if needed) into the pan. Stir everything gently. Simmer for three or four minutes until the pasta is done. The pasta water will thicken the tomato sauce so it becomes a little creamy. The trick is to add enough pasta water to create a good amount of sauce but not so much it’s like soup.

Serve and enjoy!


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Reader Comments (3)

I love adding greens to pasta--it's such a quick and simple way to get some extra greens, and it tastes good, too. I think I was much like your son after university--suddenly foods i'd never really looked at started to appeal to me. This pasta looks great. Whoo hoo! ;)

Jun 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Don't you just love being able to cook vegetables you grew yourself in the garden?
I have had a great crop of green beans this year, I've frozen bags of them.
About time to start the okra.

My climate is too hot for chard at this time of year, but your recipe looks yummy.

Jun 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

I have been in Italy since I started to buy generic viagra.Since this trip I love the pastas, I think that this recipe is really good, Swiss Chard is one of the best ingredient in the recipe!!22dd

Mar 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpepe cadena
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