The other day, I wrote about Kale and how it was a foreign vegetable to me until recently. Today, in honor of Sweetnicks ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays, I am highlighting another vegetable that is new to me: Swiss chard.
This leafy green vegetable is rich in antioxidants — in fact, one cup carries 52.5% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C. It’s also chock full of iron, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin K, among others.
I resisted trying this vegetable though, fearing the unknown, until I saw an interesting recipe for a pasta using it in the June 2006 issue of Gourmet (“Pasta with Kielbasa and Swiss Chard”). It’s been earmarked for months, just waiting to be used. Finally I assembled all the ingredients this week to try it out. Even my vegetable hating husband said he would be willing to try it again. Truth be told, he liked the greens but disliked the ribs. I didn’t really notice them.
In any case, this recipe, slightly adapted from the Gourmet version, was a winner that will be repeated in this Cucina Bella.
1 lb Swiss chard
1 lb kielbasa, sliced down the center and cut into 1/2 chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
3/4 lb angel hair pasta
fresh grated Romano cheese
Start water boiling for the pasta.
Wash the Swiss chard under cool water. Then separate the leaves from the stems and chop each, keeping them separate. Prepare the remainder of your ingredients (cut the kielbasa and mince the garlic).
Preheat a large pot over high heat. Add kielbasa and cook, stirring frequently, until it browns lightly, about two minutes. Remove kielbasa from the pot.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the olive oil, salt and Swiss chard stems to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until they are golden. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
(You should be putting the pasta into the pot now)
Add the Swiss chard leaves to the pot with the stems. Also add the water and red pepper flakes. Stir well. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 5-8 minutes, until the stems are tender. Stir in the kielbasa.
Drain pasta. Toss with the Swiss chard mixture.
Serve immediately with freshly grated Romano cheese for sprinkling.