About six years ago, I had just moved into in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood and before I’d even unpacked all the our boxes, I signed up for Urban Organic‘s home delivery service.
The first week’s delivery sat at the wrong door of the brownstone in 93° heat all afternoon. I called and gave them instructions of which door to go to.
The second week, I found a box of humid, wilted produce in exactly the same spot. I called and gave them explicit direction of where to leave the box, and just to be sure, I left a note at the wrong door: wrong door, don’t leave my box of food here, thanks.
The third week, I stayed home all day, hefting my pregnant self up and down the stairs every hour or so to check the wrong door. And there it was, my note on the door and my box of produce. I canceled my Urban Organic subscription immediately, but that still left me with something that looked like this:
“Swiss chard? I waited home all day to be sure the Swiss chard didn’t wilt? I don’t even know what a chard is, Swiss or otherwise!” As charming as I am ordinarily, I was doubly so when pregnant, and as such, it begat a grudge against Swiss chard I have held for the past six years.
And yet, this all changed when I saw some beautiful rainbow chard at last week’s Greenmarket:
How can anyone be mad at something so pretty?
And so, to end this feud forever, I made Pasta with Swiss Chard (adapted ever-so-slightly from a recipe in Everyday Food):
2 small garlic cloves
2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1 box shell-shaped pasta
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large bunch rainbow (or other) Swiss chard, (about 1 1/2 pounds total) stalks cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (keep stalks and leaves separate)
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse garlic until finely chopped. Add bread and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. In a large skillet, melt 1-2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add crumbs and cook, tossing, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a bowl, and set aside; wipe skillet clean.
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserving 1 cup pasta water, drain pasta, and return to pot. Set aside.
While pasta is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add chard stalks and 1/2 cup pasta water; cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add leaves, and cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes more. Stir in vinegar.
Add chard mixture and remaining tablespoon butter to pasta. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Thin with pasta water, if desired. Serve topped with breadcrumbs.
I sense this is the beginning of a long beautiful friendship.
At least until August, when chard season is over.