I received a lovely gift, the gift of swiss chard from my father in laws garden. It seemed like a lot. But it was beautiful. One bunch of red chard, once bunch of white. Fresh, just picked. Oh my. I must do something with this glorious bounty!
And then it it me. Inspiration from my friend Tom. Last summer Tom did a food demo at the Howe Meadow Farmer's Market and made homemade pasta with swiss chard and bacon. Ahhh the wheels in my brain started to turn. I have some thick cut paprika bacon from Al's Quality Market in my freezer, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to be used. This was it!
I've taken to cooking bacon (when I actually have it in the house, which is rare) on a sheet pan in the oven. It always cooks perfectly and there is far less mess than if you cooked it in a frying pan on the stovetop.
Ain't it perty?
While the bacon is bakin, I cleaned (thoroughly!) and chopped the swiss chard and put it in a hot pan (a big one, that's a lot of chard) with some olive oil. Sprinkled it with salt and pepper and then occasionally gave it a mix.
It doesn't take long for the chard to wilt down to a fraction of what it was. Then add some chopped garlic. I used about 4 cloves. If the pan gets too dry, add a little chicken stock. You want to make sure the stems get tender but don't want to cook the chard into oblivion either.
And in another pan, boil some water for your pasta. I didn't make my own, but I did use one of my favorite shapes, orecchiette. It's perfect for this dish.
When the bacon is done to crispy perfection (no wimpy limpy bacon please!), chop it up and toss with the swiss chard/garlic.
And then toss in your pasta and enjoy! This is how I roll people!
Buon Cibo mia Amici