FARMERS MARKET RECIPE OF THE WEEK: PASTA WITH CHARD AND WALNUT PESTO

pasta_chard_1

Photo by Rachel Sanders

We missed posting this before the market, and we’re sorry! It’s been a busy week at the SRC. In the sprit of cooking during intense times at work or in school, we have another fast and healthy pasta recipe for you. If you picked up some chard at the Farmers Market, you can make it tonight! If not, make it with any other greens you have on hand, or keep this recipe in your back pocket for the next time you need something quick and satisfying.

Pasta with Chard and Walnut Pesto

1 bunch chard
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Olive oil
Salt
1 pound pasta
Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
½ lemon (optional)

Note: this recipe is written so you can make the pesto with just a knife and a cutting board; while this will result in a coarser pesto (which I think is more interesting than a smooth pesto), you can use a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor to make a pesto with a finer texture.

  1. Put a pot of water on to boil, and season with a large pinch of salt. Prepare the pesto while you wait for the water to boil.
  2. Rinse the chard well. Cut off the stems, and slice them into ¼ inch pieces. Set aside. Slice the chard leaves into ¼ inch thick ribbons, then slice perpendicularly through the ribbons once or twice. Divide the chard in half, leaving one half on your cutting board.
  3. Put the minced garlic cloves and coarsely chopped walnuts on the cutting board with the chard, and finely chop everything together. Place in a bowl, add a good glug of olive oil and a large pinch of salt, and stir to combine.
  4. By now, the water should be boiling, and you can start cooking the pasta. While the pasta cooks, cook the chard stems and remaining leaves.
  5. Place a large pan over medium heat. Add a little olive oil or butter, and sauté the chard stems for a minute or two. When the stems begin to soften, add the leaves and cook for another 1-2 minutes. If the chard looks close to done before the pasta is done, turn off the heat while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
  6. Just before the pasta is done, add the pesto to the pan with the chard, and mix briefly (you don’t want to cook the pesto, just let it gently absorb the residual heat). Drain the pasta (reserve a little of the cooking water), and add it to the pan with the chard. Toss well to combine and evenly distribute the pesto and chard. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce and give it a little more body. Serve with grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano and a good squeeze of lemon.

Rachel Sanders is the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund Coordinator at the Sustainability Resource Center.

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