Monday, August 8, 2011

Italian Swiss Chard & Pasta

Swiss Chard in a square foot gardening box

2010 & 2011 tomatoes
Every summer we gardeners face the same problem. The harvest starts coming fast and furious and we can't keep up. We can't put it up or eat it fast enough. I don't even plant that much and I can't keep up.  I have a four foot square box of Swiss chard.  It has fed me now for months and will probably continue to feed me into fall. Mike doesn't really care for it, so it is up to me to consume its goodness. If you haven't ever tasted Swiss chard it reminds me of spinach, it's just as healthy and can be prepared in similar ways. My second problem, from the garden, is the crazy amounts of tomatoes that are ripening each day. We try to consume them while fresh but sometimes I have to add them to my canning tomatoes.  I still have three quarts of canned tomatoes left from 2010 and a bounty of Swiss Chard - so what's a girl going to make for lunch? I always take my recipes from other people but today this one is mine.

Italian Swiss Chard & Pasta
Serves: 4

  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 quart chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar, optional
  • 8 ounces pasta of choice
  • Parmesan cheese to taste or a vegan grated topping
Removing tough stems
  1. Place one teaspoon of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook just until you can smell the aroma of the garlic - about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes to the garlic. Add tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let reduce by 1/3 of its original volume to thicken. Add sugar if desired and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. While tomatoes are cooking prepare Swiss Chard by removing the tough stems (I just turn the leaf over and fold the leaf in half exposing the vein and cut a "V" to remove it.) Cut into 1 inch strips and rinse under running water. Spin dry and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add Swiss chard, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until the Swiss chard has wilted. This can now be set aside while you prepare your pasta.
  4. When your pasta is complete ladle on a large scoop of tomatoes, some Swiss chard and top with the Parmesan. 
This is such a simple, nutritious and clean entree. I ate this for my lunch for four days in a row. It keeps nicely in the refrigerator with a quick reheat of the tomatoes and chard. I did make my pasta fresh each day.

Life is good - enjoy!

PS - Tomato paste hint.  I hate to use a tablespoon or two out of a can of tomato paste and then it goes bad before I can finish it.  Now I purchase the biggest can available and put tablespoon sized dollops onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  I then put them uncovered into the freezer until frozen.  Remove and seal in a Zip Lock and return to the freezer for perfect sized portions anytime you need them.

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