Oh chard, you're so wonderful. Your stems absorb water just like bok choy. You're so dense with iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, you almost taste metallic. I can feel the minerals increasing in my system.
Clearly, we should use chard to make one of the easiest single-ingredient pastas ever.
This takes about eight minutes of cooking total; it depends on the pasta you're using. I had gemelli, which are pretty dense and take a fair amount of time. Less dense pasta can be done in only a few minutes. Use a shape with some sort of crevice factor to catch all the vegetable bits.
chard (leaves and stems)
(grating cheese/toasty nuts)
First, put a pot of water on to boil. Add your pasta at an appropriate point in the cooking process. You want it to be done about five minutes after you start cooking the vegetables.
Crush and chop a handful of garlic cloves. Cook them in a splash of olive oil over medium heat.
Wash and trim an entire bunch of chard, then cut the leaves off the stems. Dice the stems finely, eliminating any potential celery-string component. Add them to the garlic with a pinch of salt and some pepper, stir the business together, and let it cook. It should take only a few minutes for the stem bits to cook through. In the meantime, chop up the chard leaves. If you want grating cheese, grate it. If you want any nuts for garnish, toast them quickly in a little pan. Crushed walnuts or pine nuts would be good.
When the pasta is cooked through, add the chopped chard leaves to the garlic and stems. Drain the pasta of all but a little water and pour it directly on top of the leaves. Turn the heat off and let this sit for a minute while you wash the pasta pan/find some plates/open a bottle of wine. Insulated by the pasta and the hot pan, the chard leaves will wilt.
Now all you have to do is stir the business together, put it in a bowl, and eat it.
- the aforementioned grated cheese or toasty nuts.
- a squeeze/fine zest of lemon or a tiny bit of white wine vinegar.
- a spoonful of pesto on each serving.
- lots of good buttered bread and pieces of good cheese.
- a thick pureed vegetable/bean soup.
- an interesting salad: hot white beans with mustard/shallot vinaigrette and parsley, blanched green beans and tomatoes, insalata caprese.
- lentils braised in red wine.
- roasted winter squash or sweet potato.