Saturday, July 19, 2008

Penne with Chard and Sausage

I have a garden. A big, beautiful garden. OK, a big, overgrown and well producing garden. I do try to keep it from being a jungle, but reality sets in and without being able to squat or kneel (still) weeding is difficult. Fortunately for me, my inability to weed my garden hasn't hampered the massive production of vegetables that's going on, and suddenly I have about 15 extra tomato plants. Yippee!

What this also means is that my refrigerator is now resembling a highly stocked produce department. Of course part of that is because I've hit some very good sales at the grocery. I've got fennel, eggplants, zucchinis, bell peppers, and blueberries piled in the fridge and out in the garden waiting to be picked or pulled I have more zucchini, turnips, beets, some kind of hearty leaf lettuce, and some rainbow Swiss chard. It's a good thing I love vegetables. Also, I need to start eating these vegetables on a much more regular basis. It would be horrible to waste what I'm so blessed to receive.

So being that the chard was one of the first to mature, I decided I really need to eat that first. Well that and I'm still looking for something new to do with turnips. I just so happened to be in the nearest Borders the other day and also just so happened to find myself in the cookbook section of that Borders. Somehow I found myself buying this new cookbook, Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman. This tasty little book is full of 175 recipes of what to do with the vegetables you grow.

This new cookbook, Serving Up the Harvest, is a pretty neat cookbook. It's split into what time of year vegetables ripen and it's packed with tons of information about home gardening, growing each vegetable, and interesting tidbits. I'm sure if I had access or belonged to a CSA that I would find it extremely useful. It doesn't cover the quantity of vegetables as my other book, but Ms. Chesman has some exceedingly tasty recipes and far more recipes that are for main dishes. I decided I'd start with the Penne with Chard and Sausage. It was pretty easy too. I managed to use up most of the chard in the garden, and some basil and mint from the herb garden. The pasta had a delicious smell to it and the chard wasn't near as bitter as chard can be. The sauce wasn't very thick, but at the same time the meal itself was surprisingly hearty.

Swiss Chard originally came from Greece, where it was developed with wider stems and used like an asparagus. Ruby colored chard was grown in the South of France exclusively to be eaten at the Christmas Eve meal. Swiss Chard is very popular in Provence and the Rhone River Valley because it can withstand cold temperatures. But nobody knows why it's called SWISS chard. See, this book is full of interesting information.

Penne with Chard and Sausage

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from it's casings and crumbled
1 1/2 pounds chard, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 pound penne or other similar short pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and saute until brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and garlic and saute until the chard is wilted and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, basil, and mint. Reduce the heat and simmer while you cook the pasta.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain well. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl.

Season the pasta sauce with salt and pepper. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well. Serve immediately, passing the Parmesan at the table.


Cakelaw said...

This looks delicious - a real tummy filler for a cold night (like we're having all the time now!).

The Cheap Chick said...

So, okay, where do you live? And what time is dinner? I'll bring the wine!

Mary said...

Cake- this would work really well on a cold night!

Cheap Chick- I live in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio. And I think a cabernet would be excellent.

Sara said...

I made this one for dinner today. It was a hit. I think I might have overcooked the chard a little, but we both liked it so much and it was so easy that I think I'll be adding it to the regular rotation.

This is the first time I've ever cooked anything with chard. You're gonna have me cooking all sorts of fancy new veggies!

Deborah said...

That sounds like an interesting book. I wish I was getting produce from my garden already - there are tons of veggies growing, but none are ready.

I've never had chard before, but I really need to try it out!