Monday, 27 July 2015

Over the Rainbow!

Penne con Bietole Arcobaleno & Zenzero
Penne with Rainbow Chard & Ginger


How do you prepare an incredible pasta dish? Basically, by choosing a couple of simple ingredients that are fresh and in-season... And don't mess things up by trying to get too clever! Keep things simple, then things will work better, you will work less and your results will be so much better for it too!

The star of my little pasta dish this evening was clearly this beautiful rainbow colored Swiss chard- sweet, tender and delicious and begging to be transformed into something worthy... So I did my best to do just that!


I have to admit, that even though I love chard, I usually find myself thinking of it as a side dish to accompany some other wonderful thing... Which is kind-of a shame as it is pretty wonderful in itself! And especially in these beautiful colors!

So this evening I decided to base a pasta dish on the chard alone, but used a little ginger and garlic to emphasize and enhance the flavor... And as I said- by keeping things simple, I managed to come up with an incredibly good result! And you will too!


Choose young and tender chard if you can- you can see how small these stalks are in relation to that little shallot, the garlic and the ginger in the photo. To make 2 good portions of pasta you will need 1 small head of chard, or let's say 3 loose leaves of red, yellow and orange in my case. 1 shallot, just a few slices of garlic, about 1 teaspoons worth of chopped ginger and a little Parmesan to grate in top... Those were all the ingredients I needed other than salt, pepper and olive oil... And that is why I loved this so much!
And the other great thing is that it will not even take you 20 minutes to prepare... Another one of my quick as can be dishes that you can easily put together any night of the week without stressing yourself out any more than your day at work already has done!


Begin by finely chopping or grating the ginger and garlic, finely dicing the shallot, finely slicing the chard stalks and also the greens, but keeping them separate... And as soon as you have done that, you can start to boil some water for your pasta and heat up some olive oil for the chard!

Fry the chard, shallot, ginger and garlic in a little olive oil and season with salt, which will let the chard give off a little of its juices whilst it seasons.

Fry until it changes color slightly... Sadly it does lose quite a bit of color, but you should neither worry about that too much... Nor should you over-cook it though! It should still have plenty of bite to it... as it will be cooking for a further 4-5 minutes shortly!


In the meantime, pop the chopped leaves into your pasta water as soon as it comes up to a vigorous, rolling boil. This will cause the water to stop boiling for a while and by the time it comes back up to the boil, those leaves will have wilted- down considerably. At that point, add a good pinch of salt, pop in your pasta of choice and let it come back up to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes.


Once the pasta is half-cooked, pour off most of the water, but keep enough to add a little more once you have poured it and greens into yor frying pan to mingle with the flavorful stalks.

Continue boiling and stirring for a further 3-4 minutes at a high temperature until the remaining water is absorbed.


Serve immediately, piping-hot, with plenty of freshly ground pepper and freshly grated Parmesan... And enjoy!

Make sure to stir it through thoroughly to get all of the flavors combined and to incorporate any of the juices that may accumulate at the bottom of your dish whilst you do so... It all just goes to become a nice, smooth and delicious dressing for your pasta... You're going to love it! I hope!!!

I like a nice tomato sauce as much as the next man... But something different and delicious as this is just fine by me too!

Hope you all enjoy it!


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