Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Robertus Cooks: Pasta with Swiss Chard, Red Pepper, and Onion!

Monday nights have always been a “robertus, go dash off something quick for dinner” kind of night. Because we don't spend a lot (okay, any) time thinking about dinner ahead of time, I wind up falling back on a handful of easy-to-knock-out dishes: Pasta with a jar of sauce, pizza, macaroni and cheese, that sort of thing. Last night was no different. However, because we didn’t do a lot of cooking with our CSA produce over the holiday weekend, we had a fridge full of reasonably fresh vegetables. So, I went with a go-to from our last go-round with the CSA: Pasta with Swiss chard, peppers, and onions.


  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bundle of Swiss chard
  • 1 box of dry pasta (Penne, in this case)
  • 1 emergency bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

I started off by dicing the red pepper and onion, and then pulling the leaves off of the Swiss chard stems. I like to do all the prep work before starting the actual cooking – makes for a less hurried process, plus I can use the cooking time to drink beer clean as I go. Also, ripping plants apart with your bare hands is cathartic after a long Monday in the office.

Throw the peppers in a hot pan with some sunflower oil (or other high-heat oil). After a couple of minutes, add the onion. In the meantime, get a pot of water going and blanche the chard. Take the chard out, pour the pasta in. Use the same water – it’s been infused with chardy goodness, it looks cool, and you get to be lazy. It’s a win/win/win.   

mmmm paaaaastaaaaa
We do have other plates
Turn down the heat on the peppers and onions. Dice up a clove of garlic, and take a knife to the lump-o-chard. Add those in with a little water and cover. The chard shrank like nobody’s business, and so I wound up adding some baby leaf spinach to the pan. The spinach also shrank like nobody’s business, but at that point, I was out of leafy green vegetables to throw in. Let all that stuff cook down a bit, but don’t overcook it. Invariably, I take the pan off the heat for extended stretches of time, because our stovetop is terrible. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the vegetable mixture, add salt and pepper to taste. 

Once everything is mostly cooked, drain the pasta in a colander, making sure not to pour half of the scalding water on your legs like I did, like an idiot. Throw a little olive oil on the pasta, salt and pepper to taste, top thoroughly with the vegetables and fistfulls of parm, and serve.
Easy like Monday evening. 

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