Swiss chard is another one of those vegetables that I did not grow up eating, so of course I bought some so I could figure out what to do with it. I learned several things including that you can use Swiss chard in a number of recipes instead of spinach. Also, my friend Jennifer tells me that when you buy Swiss chard you want to get red Swiss chard not green – apparently it’s healthier. In case you know as much about Swiss chard as I did, that means the stalks and veins are red, not the leaves….
My first Swiss chard experiment involved a pasta & sausage dish. I adapted this recipe from one I found on Epicurious.com (one of my favorite websites – actually my home page on my home PC). Thanks to my friends at Clever Sexy Beautiful Tough, I found an amazing new exercise regime that has me exercising like a fiend, but also constantly hungry so I’m in to hearty food right now (and yes, I’m still losing weight.) If you are dieting, use turkey sausage and whole wheat pasta.
Adapted from a recipe by Alexis Touchet from Gourmet Magazine
3/4 lb Swiss chard
1/2 lb pan sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
3/4 lb whole wheat penne
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano–Reggiano (1/2 cup)
Trim the chard, cutting out the center ribs and the stems, then thoroughly wash the chard ribs, stems and leaves. Cut ribs and stems crosswise into bite-sized pieces and chop the leaves coarsely.
Cook sausage in oil in a heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
Cook chard ribs and stems with salt for 3 minutes in the fat remaining in pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chard leaves, broth, and red-pepper flakes and simmer, partially covered, until chard stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir in sausage.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente and drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta to the chard mixture. Sprinkle the mixture with cheese, salt to taste and toss until combined well.