Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu

Tonight was the big night. It was the first night I actually harvested something more than an herb from the garden. I've been waiting to try this recipe from Mario Batali's new cookbook Molto Gusto that calls for one pound of Swiss chard.

I wasn't sure how much Swiss chard made up one pound, but the square of chard was exploding so I figured I must be close.

In case you're wondering also, it takes about 20 large Swiss chard leaves to make one pound. More like 25 if some leaves are just medium sized.  (The picture below is only about 1/2 lb.)

The recipe was super easy to make. Didn't require anything unusual except for maybe the pennette (baby penne), but you can use regular penne if you can't find it. (I could only find pennette at Trader Joe's.) And despite my initial worries as I was halfway through cooking it, it had great flavor.

Great flavor + cancer-busting Swiss chard = a winner in my book! 

The only thing I would do differently is reduce the amount of butter. It called for 4 TBL of butter. That's half a stick! It was definitely rich and creamy, but I think it would have been just as good with only half that amount.
Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu
(adapted from a Mario Batali recipe)
Serves six
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small white onion, halved, peeled, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 pound Swiss chard, rinsed, drained, and trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Sea Salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces (I am going to reduce this to 2 TBL next time.)
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 pound pennette (small penne) pasta or other small pasta
¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving

Combine 1/4 cup oil, onion, garlic and chard in a large pot, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chard begin to soften, about five minutes. 
Season well with sea salt. 

Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then season with pepper and remove from the heat. 

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop in the pasta, and cook until just al dente (done, but still firm). Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the chard, and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated. If necessary, add a splash or two more of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce. Stir in the cheese.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.

 Buon Appetito!

Off to watch the American Idol finale now. Can't wait!


Kimberly said...


I am definitely going to try this! I always see those beautiful greens at the Farmers' Market, but never know what to do with them...this is right up my alley!

Cindy said...

Wow Kim that looks delish!!
I will have to pass that recipe along to my hubby...he is the cook in our house!:)
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment!
Look forward to following along! (and reading some older posts too!)
Enjoy the night! (and Idol!!)

serialswooper.com said...

Well, look at YOU going all Mario. Very nice job. Looks deelish.

Next thing you know, you'll be hanging with Gwyneth in Tuscany and will have forgotten all about us.

Welp, back to my Ramen. Yummmm.

Jen said...

I am collecting lots of fancy recipes today! This looks so yummy.
We are watching Biggest Loser fianle and American Idol...and Dancing with the Stars during the commercials. Craziness!
Have fun!

sloan said...

Can't wait to try this one, Kim - healthy AND delicious, gotta love it!! So jealous you grew all that chard on your own, wow, power to the square garden, sheesh!
yummy yummy ...

Dani said...

I'm totally digging chard right now. This looks amazing.

I might swipe it for this week's menu...giving credit where credit is due, of course.

Deepali Kalia Interior Design Blog Filling Spaces said...

Thanks for the Recipe!~Deepali

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