Pasta with Chard and Sausage – SImple and Quick for the Summer

For the abundance of Swiss chard in our garden right now, I recreated a dish I’ve consumed more than once at Nicola’s in Lake Placid, NY.  There are multiple variations on this:  one can substitute other greens for chard; use leftover chicken instead of sausage.  If you’re growing other herbs instead of/in addition to basil and chives you can certainly incorporate them.  Use this as a starting point.  Serves four with some leftovers.

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tbs fresh chives
  • 4 cups Swiss chard
  • 1 lb turkey sausage (sweet or hot, your choice)
  • vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 lb pasta
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chop onions and sauté in olive oil; chop red pepper and add to pot.  Remove sausage from casing and chop; add to pot.  Break up sausage pieces with a spoon.
Boil water for pasta.
Add salt and fresh ground bl pepper.  Add basil, chives and garlic.
When water boils, add pasta and cook al dente.  Two minutes before it’s done, add chard to the sausage mixture.  If necessary, add enough broth to cook chard
Drain pasta.  Serve with sauce; garnish with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Pesto, the Joy of Summer

Basil is one of the staples of our garden.  Each spring, I plant as much as my wife will let me get away with.

To me, pesto embodies the aromas of summer and the simple pleasures of eating.  This classic dish from Italy’s Ligurian coast tastes so good, and is sooo easy to prepare.  We never tire of it.

Not only is it a wonderful first course, a bowl of pesto and pasta can be augmented with innumerable combinations of vegetables and meat to make a one-dish meal.

The most difficult thing about preparing pesto is tearing the leaves from the stem of the basil plant.  This recipe suffices for six servings, about 1 – 1.5 lb of pasta.

  • 2 packed cups of basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, more or less to taste
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 1 tbs water from the pot in which the pasta cooks

Remove the basil leaves from the plant and wash them.  Toast the pine nuts.  Peel and crush the garlic.

Place the basil in a food processor.  Add salt, pine nuts and garlic.  Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and run the food processor.  Add the remaining olive oil, a little at a time, running the food processor, until you achieve the consistency you desire.

Transfer the basil mixture from the food processor to a bowl.  Beat the cheese in and add a tablespoon of water from the pasta pot.  Add additional olive oil if you like.

While there’s no substitute for pesto straight from the garden, it keeps very well in the freezer.  And when you come home from work at 7 PM on a weeknight, it makes a quick meal.  Prepare the basil, olive oil, salt, garlic and pine nuts in the food processor as above.  Put it in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat, defrost it and add cheese.  Buon apetito!

Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Peas with Penne

The common diet wisdom for endurance athletes is to consume plenty of complex carbohydrates.  Pasta is supposedly the king of complex carb sources, with  rice, millet, barley  et al running a poor second.  For many years, pasta was on my dinner table two or more nights  a week. Continue reading “Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Peas with Penne”