California Central Coast Recipes
Swiss Chard with Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon and Pappardelle Pasta
Leafy greens such as Swiss Chard are often over-looked and unappreciated as main course vegetables. In the cool Winter season they are at their peak. With a little creativity they can be the basis for both an inexpensive yet very delicious and healthy meal.
This time of year we especially like to use Swiss Chard. Red Chard in particular tastes as good as it looks! When cooked with onion and a little apple wood smoked uncured bacon or pancetta then deglazed with white wine it makes a delicious robust sauce that goes especially well with a wide pasta such as Pappardelle.
Preparation time: 15 minutesCooking time: 15 minutes
4 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces Apple wood smoked uncured bacon or Pancetta , diced
1/2 Large white onion , thinly sliced
3 Large cloves garlic , chopped
1/2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper flakes , or to taste
1/2 Cup Dry white wine
1-1/2 pounds Swiss chard , washed thoroughly
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/3 pound Pappardelle pasta or another wide noodle
Parmesan Cheese , grated for table
1 Wash the Swiss Chard greens well. Slice the greens crosswise into 3/4-1 inch-wide strips and set aside.
2 In a large stockpot with lid, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the bacon or pancetta, saute until lightly cooked.
3 Add in the sliced onions and separate the sliced sections into individual stands. If necessary, add in additional olive oil. Saute until softened.
4 Add in the garlic and saute until the garlic gives off its fragrance.
5 Add in the red pepper flakes and cook for several seconds, then deglaze with the white wine.
6 Shake off excess water from the greens and add the greens to the pot. Stir well to distribute the greens and onion-bacon mixture evenly throughout the pot.
7 Add in the salt and gently toss the greens, picking up the onion-bacon mixture from the bottom.
8 Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally until greens are tender(about fifteen minutes.)
9 Taste the greens. Correct the seasonings for your personal taste. Stir and turn off the heat.
10 In the meantime, in a separate pasta pot, bring water to boiling over high heat.
11 Add in salt, give a stir then add in pasta. Cook until al dente, or as directed on pasta package and stir occasionally.
12 When the pasta is done, drain and mix the pasta with the cooked greens.
13 Serve pasta on warm dinner plates, with Parmesan cheese at the table.
There is some bitterness in leafy green vegetables which will not go well with tannins or overly sweet wines. The best choice to serve with this dish is a dry white wine like a young Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Alsatian style Riesling.