This week, this week, totally reaffirmed my understanding of how hard it is to eat healthy during the workweek. I actually stopped at a fast food restaurant on the way home and grabbed food for the kids for dinner this week. I did. Right here. I’m guilty.
Which in of itself would not be too bad, but true confession time — I ordered pizza one night, suggested dinner out another right, and “cooked” veggie burgers and fries the other. That was our week.
I know. Who is this person!?
It’s a wonder I managed to make dinner at all.
But then the prettiest swiss chard came with the veggie delivery last week. And it really is a wonder it didn’t go bad before I got to it. But I was so excited to see it, I cooked up this Spaghetti and swiss chard dish the day it arrived.
I like to blacken and blister the cherry tomatoes in a hot cast iron skillet a little bit. It deepens their flavour – to something almost jammy. Giving the overall dish a bit more body. As they cook down, they will fall apart and almost disappear into a sauce. This dish will come together in about 30 minutes. To help your timeline along, get the water for the pasta started as soon as you start to heat the cast iron skillet. Chop and clean the chard while the tomatoes blacken and sizzle. Keep an eye on the, and give the pan a shake every once in a while. This requires a little bit of multitasking, just a little bit. You can do it.
- Careful adding oil to the hot skillet after you have blackened and blistered the tomatoes. It will be hot and oil will smoke almost immediately. Turn the heat down and help cool the pan by adding the chard stems right away.
- Don’t forget to season the pasta water and save some to cook the veggies.
- Balsamic vinegar really makes this dish sing. Don’t skip it.
Here is how you make it:
- I small bunch swiss chard – stocks chopped and leaves sliced thinly
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 250-300 g spaghetti cooked to package directions – reserve 1/2 cup of water – divided.
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- While the pasta water comes to a boil, get the tomatoes in a hot, dry skillet and let them blacken a bit. Shake the pan frequently. This takes 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile clean and chop chard. Chop stems into small half inch chunks and thinly slice the leaves.
- Once the tomatoes are blistered and blackened in a few places, reduce heat to medium, quickly add olive oil and chard stems. (If you just add oil to a very hot pain it might smoke- so be careful)
- Allow chard stems to saute and get tender. About 4 minutes, then add leaves, a pinch of chili flakes, the minced garlic, and about a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes, until water evaporates and leaves are tender. Test you chard, stems should be tender to the bite, not mushy. Leaves just wilted. Water will be evaporated and thickened into a sauce.
- Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Cook for one more minute then remove from heat.
- Add cooked pasta and toss in the pan with the vegetables. Add additional pasta water, just a splash at a time, if needed to keep sauce loose. Taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper if needed. Generously sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve