Thursday, June 26, 2008

Swiss Chard with Garlic and Tomato

This is an Alton Brown recipe I tried for the first time the other day... straight out of "I'm Just Here For the Food" However, since Alton isn't as anal as Cook's, my experience might provide some benefit to other novice cooks... other than just transcribing something you could just as easily read as I did.

Up there you can see the ingredients... a bunch of swiss chard that I got at the farmer's market (looking a bit wilty, but sitting in some water perked it right up), onion, garlic, farfalle, butter and flour for a roux, hot pepper flakes, and crushed tomatoes... here are the measurements and a few things not pictured:

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
16 oz farfalle pasta
1 bunch swiss chard
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

1. Get 2 large pots of boiling water going. 1 for the pasta, and the other for blanching the chard. For the chard, Cook's said to hold the stalk and use a knife to cut the leaves off going away from you... however mine was just to wilted at that point, so I just used my hands to tear the leaves off into a bowl of water. This was farmer's market swiss chard, so it was pretty grubby. I dunked and changed the water 4 or 5 times... until it didn't look like it was leaving a residue.

2. Cook the pasta according to the package's directions. Pretty straightforward. Blanching on the other hand is a little mysterious to me. Both Cook's and Alton said boiling water, covered, 7 minutes... which is what I did... then dump it into iced water. How do you know if it's done or over done? Dunno. Supposedly you lose color first, and this looks pretty good to me:

Once it's cooled down take it out and chop it up.

3. Combine the butter and flour into a smooth mixture.

4. Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute until the onions are golden brown... about 7-10 minutes.

5. Turn heat to medium low and whisk in the in the butter/flour mixture. Cook for 5 minutes.

6. Add the tomatoes and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and whisk until "sauce is smooth and creamy". Then add in the pasta and chard and heat through.

7. Finish off with rosemary, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pretty simple, eh?

The finished dish with a salad of bib lettuce and mustard greens.

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