Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hearty Chardy Pasta

Farmers' markets are in full swing in the South Bay. Fruits and veg are practically spilling out of everywhere around here.

I will soon have my own plant-related problems. I have to figure out what to do with at least 8 serrano peppers, a mountain of thyme, and *hopefully* 3 or 4 tomatoes. My balcony garden may be small, but my dreams are big!

And since I've only got 3 pots of plants to my name, I stalk the local farmers' market. Mmmmmmm. Greens! Berries! and Squashes, oh my!

This week I walked away with a beautiful bunch of swiss chard. Not that I had any idea what to do with it. 

So I started off with bacon. Like one always does with any sort of greens. (Can you tell I'm from the South?)

Then pull out the crisp bacon and toss in an onion and chard stems, diced up small. Let cook for 5 minutes or so.

Add in garlic and a touch of red pepper flake. Saute for another couple minutes.

Add in the olives and roughly chopped chard. Cover the pan. It only takes a few minutes for the chard to wilt. 

Once the chard it wilted, add the bacon back in. Squeeze the lemon over the pan and mix everything up.

Hopefully you've got the spaghetti cooked.... Save a 1/3 cup of that pasta water.

Chard mixture goes in with the pasta, toss in feta cheese and the pasta water. Toss until combined. 

Dig in!

Hearty Chardy Pasta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 3-4

3 strips of bacon
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch, swiss chard
8 kalamata olives, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 small container of crumbled feta

Rinse and roughly chop your chard. Dice the stems into small pieces. Separate the stems from the leaves.

Cut the bacon into large bite-size chunks. In a large pan,cook the bacon until crisp.

Add the spaghetti to a pot of boiling water. (my spaghetti takes 12 minutes to cook)

Remove the crisp bacon from the pan and dump the diced onion and chard stems into the bacon fat. Allow to cook for 5-8 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and red pepper flake. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add in the olives and chard leaves. Allow the chard to wilt. When chard is wilted, squeeze the lemon over the mixture.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving a 1/3 c. of the pasta water. In a large serving bowl, combine the spaghetti, chard mixture, reserved pasta water, and feta cheese. Toss until combined.


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