Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard

Doesn't this look good? I sure wish I could remember how I made it. I have gotten into the habit of taking pictures of just about everything I make, thinking I will remember how I made it when it comes time to write about it. By now, I have realized that I need a more methodical process, and toward that end I have gotten better at writing down recipes sooner rather than later, but I just stumbled across this photograph and, while I do remember eating and enjoying the pasta, I have no memory of making it.

Looking at this photo and trying to remember what I did, I thought it might be interesting if I tried to deconstruct it here on my blog, and illustrate the process by which one might reconstruct a dish just by looking at it. Of course, it most likely will not come out exactly like the original, but if the ideas give you something delicious, that doesn't really matter, does it?

Looking at the photograph, I see:
whole wheat spaghetti
swiss chard leaves
swiss chard stems
That seems pretty basic. I don't think I see basil in there, but I am positive that I would have used it if I had it, so I am going to add it to my recipe. If I didn't have swiss chard, I would substitute another green, or another vegetable altogether. Zucchini would work, peppers would work, you could add meat or sausage if you wanted a more substantial dish. If I didn't have spaghetti, I would use a different kind of pasta. If I didn't have garlic (but that's never going to happen) I would use onion. Or both, although lately I have been using one or the other when I make pasta. Every once in a while I like to let them shine on their own right.

Taking those ingredients, and what I know about making sauces and pasta, I came up with the following recipe. What would you have done with those ingredients?
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 4 servings

1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 batch swiss chard, stems and leaves separated (stems chopped, leaves roughly shredded)
4-5 plum tomatoes, skins removed and chopped (or 1 14.5-oz can)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus some for garnish
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus some for garnish
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, plus some for garnish

Set a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, then add the chard stems. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the chard stems have
softened and are translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have just started to break down.

At this point you should be ready to cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than instructed to on the package directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta water and then drain.

Add the chard leaves to the sauce, and then the pasta. Continue to cook for another minute or two until the flavors have combined and the chard leaves have wilted. Remove from the heat and add the basil, parsley, and cheese. Add pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce.

Serve garnished with more basil, parsley, and cheese.


Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (


Hornsfan said...

Looks great - what a tasty way to add chard in!

dejamo said...

Thanks Hornsfan. I have only started to use chard these past couple of years and I absolutely love it! It's great in soups, stews, frittatas, with pasta, and by itself.

Neilesh Patel (Recruiter focused on Food Manufacturing Jobs) said...

I enjoyed some of these posts, thanks for writing. I will share them with my colleagues. Is it ok if we include some of your posts in our newsletter? We will link to your site, of course. :) I think our audience would enjoy these tidbits from time to time – they are all food and beverage industry professionals. You can email me at the address I provided.


dejamo said...

Hi Neilesh - I don't see any email address??

Anonymous said...

I have a similar question to Neilesh, can I share the recipes with pictures in my blog if I reference you? Pls tell me?

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