[This recipe got a light refresh in 2019 and some new photos.]
It’s a tough thing, you know, growing up and realizing you might not be exactly what you once thought you might. I am most certainly not the next Susanna Hoffs, Joan Jett or Mrs. Jon Bon Jovi; I’m not a doctor or astronaut but more fitting for this conversation, I always thought I would be an avid ingester of all sorts of greens and here I am, still quite put off by most of them.
I know this is something of a sacrilege in the food-fixated world, but I’ve never gotten into broccoli rabe (too bitter, almost always too tough), kale (tastes “funny”) and collards (ditto). I wish I would and I wish I could, but I’ve also learned that there are bigger fish to fry (so yeah, that too) than to fret over those things that have just never appealed to you.
But Swiss chard is my green; it’s my boo. We get along famously. It picks up where cooked spinach in dishes leaves off (too soft, loses flavor too easily); it’s a little tougher but still tender enough to cut with the side of a fork, it holds it own in big soups and stews and quiches and it’s just bursting with all of that iron-y goodness I miss out on, eschewing so many other members of the humble greens family. I not only like it, I look for excuses to cook it and this was one of my favorites yet.
Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise though I am sure crosswise would work as well
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried currants (we skipped this)
- 2 pounds green Swiss chard, stems and center ribs finely chopped and leaves coarsely chopped separately
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers
- 6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups) or ricotta salata, coarsely grated
Cook onion in oil remaining in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add currants and cook, stirring, until plumped, about 1 minute.
Stir chard stems into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chard leaves and cook, covered, until stems and leaves are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 5 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain spaghetti.
Toss spaghetti with chard, olives, and 1/2 cup cooking water, adding more cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with feta or ricotta salata and garlic chips.