Tonight I cooked one of my favorite and easiest meals. Baked pasta with Swiss Chard and Spinach. I used Martha Shulman’s recipe from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/health/nutrition/19recipehealth.html , and slightly adjusted it by using spinach and swiss chard.
2 cups tomato sauce, made with fresh or canned tomatoes (I used fresh sauce)
1 pound Swiss chard (or other greens), stemmed and washed (I used half spinach, half swiss chard)
12 ounces Penne (I used Ricotti)
3 ounces soft, mild goat cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Begin heating a large pot of water for the chard and pasta. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. When it’s done, transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the goat cheese.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin with olive oil.
3. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water in the pot comes to a boil, salt generously and add the Swiss chard. Blanch for one to two minutes, then transfer to the ice water and drain. Squeeze out excess water, and chop fine. Add to the bowl with the tomato sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, you can steam the greens, but you’ll need the water for the pasta in any case.)
4. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook the pasta for a minute less than the instructions on the package indicate. It should still be a little underdone, as it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain, and transfer to the bowl with the tomato sauce and chard. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and stir together until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the sauce. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top, and drizzle on the olive oil.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is bubbly and the top just beginning to color, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (I cooked it for 35 minutes covered, and 20 minutes uncovered)
Yield: Serves four to six.
I listened to good ole public radio while cooking this meal, and it really enriched my cooking process ;).
I hope you enjoy this recipe, I’ve used it numerous times since I found it this fall, and you can never make enough because leftovers don’t last too long.