Having a farm share/CSA can sometimes be challenging. This week was one of the largest vegetable pickups I’ve ever had, from the said farm share. There were tomatoes by the truck load, with 6 beefsteak tomatoes (and many other varieties), swiss chard, eggplant (see my next post), corn, beets, onions, sweet peppers and more. The vegetarian and I had to devise a plan to see which vegetables would last the longest and use the others for meals ASAP. The result of this inventory review was that some of the tomatoes and the swiss chard would turn first.
Normally, I toss in a few food keywords into google or check out friends blogs and I end up with a ton of great recipe options. This time, however, I decided to consult some of my trusty cookbooks. After four of five books, the New York Times cookbook, one of my favorites, had a recipe that was perfect. It would utilize my swiss chard, the very ripe tomatoes, some of the purple basil and with pasta, it would have plenty of protein (note: we use Barilla Plus pasta that is enriched with protein, otherwise, this has none…). The dish is called a casserole, but it really isn’t, in my opinion. The fresh tomatoes that I used (after blanching them to remove their skins) ended up having much more juice and so the sauce ended up being much more, well, saucy. The addition of goat cheese makes the tomato based sauce creamy, and the finely chopped chard really combines perfectly with the rest of the dish. Even the vegetarian, who really doesn’t like cooked greens, cleaned her plate.
I encourage anyone who isn’t a fan of swiss chard to give this one a try.
Serves 4 for main course or 6-8 as side/appetizer
Recipe courtesy of the New York Times
1 pound Swiss chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, chopped
1 cup finely chopped, well-drained canned plum tomatoes (or fresh, peeled tomatoes**)
Freshly ground black pepper.
1/2 pound farfalle (pasta bow ties)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Optional – 3 tablespoons Purple basil, cut in chiffonade
Rinse the chard, drain it and chop it fine.
Heat one tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, saute over medium heat until tender but not brown, then stir in the garlic. Add the scallions and tomatoes, then add the chard. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the chard has wilted.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the farfalle about seven minutes, until al dente. Drain it and toss with remaining oil. Also, Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the chard mixture from the heat, stir in the goat cheese and half the Parmesan, fold in the farfalle and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the chard and farfalle mixture into a large casserole or use large skillet if oven safe. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top. Bake for about 15 minutes and serve.
**To peel the skin of your tomatoes to use in this dish or any other tomato based sauce, you want to first set a medium sauce pan half filled with water to boil. Prepare the tomatoes by cutting a small X into the core and bottom. The cut shouldn’t be very deep, it will just make it easier to remove the skin afterward.
Once the water is boiling, prepare and ice bath in a large bowl with cold water and filled with ice. Place the tomatoes into the boiling water and let cook for 15-20 seconds. You will notice the skin starting to peel back, and that is when they are ready. Immediately shock the tomatoes in the ice bath for 30 seconds to stop cooking process. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. The skin should come off easily. You can also squeeze out the seeds if you want, using a mesh strainer, keeping the tomato juice, minus the seeds.