Like pretty much everybody else, the start of the week is always a little hectic in our house. On Mondays, we tend to eat light suppers after (more often than not) over-indulging on the weekend.
When Tuesdays come around, we can sometimes still feel a little wiped. In need of comfort food, but craving something healthy.
And so it was that a while back we came up with Pasta Tuesdays. Making a 15 minute dinner suits our energy levels and schedules, while the tasty things we pack into them usually push us gently back on to the road of feeling good again.
Here’s a recipe I threw together one Tuesday which uses Rainbow Chard, possibly the prettiest vegetable of them all. A taste-cousin of spinach, this variety of chard get its name from the beautiful colours splashed about its stalks.
It’s available at the moment from Denis Healy’s stalls at The Temple Bar market and I’d imagine you’d get it in most farmers’ markets or good vegetable shops. If not, you could substitute it easily with using kale or some lovely big grown-up spinach. As opposed to the baby kind.
There’s something about the combination of chili, garlic, lemon and chard here that makes this taste surprisingly good – hmmm, perhaps it’s the bacon? – so do try get your hands on the rainbow or the plain variety. Minimal effort and maximum results. My kind of mid-week supper.
What you need for Rainbow Swiss Chard Pasta for 2
About 200g of pasta of your choice – I used some lovely Pennette Lisce which I got in Little Italy
Salt and Pepper
About a tablespoon of butter or olive oil
3 or 4 rashers of bacon or pancetta, chopped into chunks
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
1 red chili, finely chopped (only use half if you’re not a big chilli fan)
About 200g of rainbow swiss chard, washed very well, with the leaves and stalks chopped into rough chunks and separated (as in, one pile of stalks and one pile of leaves)
1/2 a lemon, for squeezing
1 tablespoon of crème fraiche
Start by cooking your pasta in boiling water according to its packet’s instructions.
Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a large frying pan. Fry the bacon/pancetta chunks until golden brown. It will take about 4 or 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and chili to the bacon, cooking for one minute.
Now add the stalks of the swiss chard. Cook for a minute before adding the chard leaves. Cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Finally, add a squeeze of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Taste and add a bit more lemon, salt and pepper if you think it’s needed.
Drain your pasta. Return to the pot and mix the crème fraiche to the pasta, keeping it warm over a low heat. Once the pasta is coated with crème fraiche, mix well with the swiss chard.
Serve immediately with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Yum!
There are a few varieties of the chard and there isn’t much of a taste difference, so don’t worry if your bundle isn’t full of colours! It’ll still work beauitfully in this recipe.
Here’s a great track from Brooklyn-based Twin Sister, whose debut album In Heaven will be released at the end of September.