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Wilted Swiss Chard with Garlic and Ricotta Salata Cheese
from Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop, with my variations.

So this is supposed to be a pasta recipe, but I wound up putting it on rice instead. I am claiming that this is to demonstrate how versatile a basic recipe for a sauce can be, and not because I was too lazy to go to the store *g*





Ingredients (what I actually used in parentheses):
- 2 lbs swiss chard (I think I had maybe a pound)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I always use something between a splash and a sploosh)
- 3 medium cloves garlic (I used 2 garlic scapes, peeled with a thumbnail and sliced into little rounds)
- 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (I think I used 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp salt (this was way too much)
- 1 pound pasta (I used a mix of short-grain brown and white rice, about 3 cups cooked)
- 1/3 cup grated ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano cheese (I used some parmesan and about 2/3 cup pepper jack, which was sort of local.)

Instructions:

1) Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil for the pasta. (Or, if you're me, start cooking the rice.)

2) Trim and discard the tough stems from the chard; wash it in several times in water. Slice the chard leaves crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips and set them aside.

3) Heat the oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven with a cover. Add the garlic (/scapes) and saute over medium heat, about 5 minutes. (The recipe says to fish out the cloves with a fork and discard them, but I would never do that to a garlic scape. And I probably cooked them for more like 3 minutes).

4) Add the hot red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for about 30 seconds to release their flavor. Add the damp Swiss chard and salt. Stir several times to coat the leaves with oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard has completely wilted, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt and hot pepper and adjust seasonings if necessary.

5) While preparing the sauce, cook and drain the pasta, reserving 1/3rd cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the hot pasta with the Swiss chard sauce, the reserved cooking liquid, and the grated cheese. Mix well until the cheese has softened about 30 seconds. Transfer portions to warm pasta bowls and serve immediately.

(So what I did to make cheesy rice instead: I cut off the heat to the dutch oven with the greens in it, dumped the cooked rice in it, mixed well, and then had my kitchen buddy sprinkle the shredded cheese in a bit at a time while I stirred frantically. It worked! It got creamy! I did not retain any cooking liquid.)

As noted above, I would salt to taste towards the end of cooking instead - I'm not a big fan of salty salty greens - but I would recommend this as a good basic, versatile technique to make swiss chard into a sauce for pasta, rice, bread, what-have-you. We ate this with a side salad of our CSA lettuce for bonus CSA-box-emptying points.

Crossposted to [personal profile] sapotelunch
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