Friday, December 4, 2009

Pasta with swisschard, raisins and sun dried tomatoes

I love to cook with swiss chard. Aside from being a very tasty green, it holds up well to the cooking process without melting away like spinach would if you cooked it too long. So, this is one of my pasta with greens dishes that I often do with a variety of flavoring options. The idea of all these dishes is to start your pasta cooking and attend to the rest of the ingredients so they are fully cooked when your pasta is ready. Then, the pasta is cooked one minute longer in the pan while it soaks up some of the liquid  and "marries" the greens and their flavorings. This way, we avoid one of the Your Italian Grandma mortal sins, "Thou shalt not let the pasta wait for the sauce".

 The ingredients for this dish are one bunch of organically grown swiss chard washed and sliced across the stems and leaves, one large clove of garlic thinly sliced,  red pepper flakes to taste, two or three black olives pitted and chopped, a small handful of golden raisins, a tablespoon of julienne sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and two or three tablespoons of grated Italian cheese.

Start with a pan heated with extra virgin olive oil to medium hot. Add the garlic and red pepper till they flavor the oil (you must use your nose), then add the olives and raisins. Quickly, add the wet greens to the pan and salt them. Now, you can drop your pasta into salted boiling water, setting your timer for it to cook one minute short of the package suggestion for al dente. Meanwhile, stir your greens and after the pasta cooks for a minute add a small bit of the cooking water to the greens. You should maintain the water in the greens so there is always slightly less than 1/2 cup in the pan. When the pasta reaches the two minute mark, add the sun dried tomatoes to the greens. At the one minute mark, drain the pasta and immediately add it to the greens. Turn the heat up to high and cook the pasta and greens stirring them so the pasta absorbs some of the moisture in the pan and the liquid "tightens" to form a sauce. After one minute, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Then, sprinkle about a tablespoon of your finest extra virgin olive oil over the pasta and greens and serve.

If you care to see another recipe for "greens and beans", check this one out!

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