CAPELLINI WITH SWISS CHARD
Tonight I made dinner for a couple of friends and had a pasta dish that I once invented for my vegetarian ex-girlfriend. I enjoyed the experience and everyone enjoyed the food so much that I decided to finally update this page.
* Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 Bunches of Red Swiss Chard
* 2 Large Cloves of Garlic
* 1 Large Can of Italian Bell Tomatoes
* 1 Large Portabella Mushroom
* Fresh Basil (if possible) or Dried Basil
* Salt & Pepper
* Red Pepper Flakes
* Grated Romano Cheese
* 1/2 Box Capallini (angel hair pasta)
There are two kinds of Swiss Chard, the red and the green. The red is more tender and easier to cook, as well as being a little tastier ...so buy the red if you can find it.
Cut the leaf of the Chard away from the stem and discard these stems. Shred the greens (thickly). Cover the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and sauté the Swiss Chard on medium heat (or perhaps a bit higher). Add salt, pepper and a little of the red pepper flakes and stir in.
Place your water for the pasta on the stove and add a tablespoon of salt to it - This will be boiling by the time everything else is done. The pasta cooks last.
Chop the garlic and de-stem the tomatoes. I buy a brand of imported Italian tomatoes called Del Alpe. If you have an Italian imports store in your town, ask them what their best brand is. This will be what I call a "quick sauce," you can use my sauce recipe if you wish, but I prefer this one (for this dish) because it is sweeter and more casual. Anyway, you will now need a second medium size to large skillet. Over medium heat, cover the bottom very liberally with olive oil and toss in the chopped garlic .Be ready to throw in the tomatoes before the garlic turns brown. Dump the contents of the can, juice and all, into the skillet with the garlic and chop the tomatoes a bit with a utensil while they are cooking.
Add salt and pepper to taste, but remember that it's better to cook with salt than to have to add it later. Add a lot of basil - if it's fresh basil put about 6 - 10 chopped leaves in there and if it's dried basil put perhaps 5 or 6 pinches. Add red pepper flakes as you see fit, but don't overpower it. Lower heat a bit and let it cook until everything else is done.
Chop the Portabella mushroom in cubes, and sauté them in yet another skillet covered in olive oil. Add more oil while they are cooking because they soak it up like sponges. Add salt and pepper to these too. When they are done, add some of them to the sauce and set the rest aside.
As far as the capallini pasta goes, I like to use De Cecco brand for this dish because it is very thin. If you do find that brand, be careful because it cooks really fast ...about 2 minutes.
When you serve this, put some pasta in a bowl and cover it with sauce. Then put the Swiss chard around the edge of the bowl (looks pretty) then add some mushrooms on top and a bit more sauce. This dish requires a lot of cheese so be sure to sprinkle with plenty of Romano cheese. In fact, you will probably have to sprinkle more cheese as you are eating.
This dish is not that difficult or time consuming as long as you have 3 skillets.
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