Monday, January 20, 2014

Swiss Chard Casserole with Farfalle and Cheeses

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  I hope you were able to do something civic-minded this long weekend (if you are getting a long weekend) even if it was just being kind to the opposing football teams’ fans regardless of whether your team won or lost.  As volunteer and human-rights oriented as MLK was, it is appropriate that he continues his legacy by giving us a three day weekend in January.  The man keeps on giving. 

We are gearing up in New York City for some football.  The Super Bowl teams are set and the Super Bowl-themed flags on light posts, along the side of city buses and in the subways are running rampant.  It is going to be interesting to see what the next two weeks bring us.  I promise that I will venture out to see what some of the festivities are and report back.  Either way, the weather looks like it will be a chilly one since we are hovering just below freezing for the next ten days it seems – and they are calling for six-ten inches of snow tomorrow. 

Because of the chill, I fear I’ve been inundating our dinners with soups, stews and chilis too much.  I forgot we may need to have something a tad more non-liquidy every once in awhile – you know, just to give our spoons a rest and our forks a chance to get in the game.

I found this recipe in the New York Times Cookbook (a favorite of mine) and, as expected, it did not disappoint.  It was easy to make and seemed appropriate for cold nights without making me go to bed with indigestion.  I tweaked it a bit but it came out just as I had hoped – the freshest pasta dish you can get before April when the farmers markets start being bountiful again.

Swiss Chard Casserole with Farfalle and Cheeses

1 pound Swiss chard
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, drained
½ pound farfalle
2 oz. goat cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more if needed

Start with the most time-consuming part of the recipe – rinse the Swiss chard, drain it, remove it from the stems and chop it fine.  (I ended up just tearing it with my fingers because I found I worked faster that way.)  Heat a swirl of oil in a deep-ish skillet over medium heat.  (You want it deep because you have a lot of chard that takes up a lot of room before it wilts.) Add the onion and saut√© until tender.  Chop your shallot.  Stir in the garlic, chopped shallot and tomatoes.   Stir to incorporate and to ensure there isn’t too much liquid from the tomatoes. Add the chard and cook for about 8 minutes, until the chard has wilted.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the farfalle until al dente, according to the package suggestions.  Drain the pasta when done.   Dump the chard into a casserole dish (mine was a little smaller than a 9 x 13 dish) and stir in the goat cheese and half the Parmesan.  Fold in the farfalle and mix with the chard mixture.  Once incorporated, sprinkle the top of the casserole with Parmesan cheese and bake about 15 – 20 minutes until heated.  Serve with more Parmesan cheese if wanted. 

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