Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Food: Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta

Last spring, Bon Appetit published a recipe for bacon and swiss chard pasta. When I first saw it, I was immediately reminded of a pizza my mother used to make in the summer. When my parents' beautiful garden was full of big onions and leafy chard we were all in for a special treat. It was at this time my mom would mix up a batch of homemade pizza dough. After it had risen, she would roll it out, place on a cornmeal dusted pizza pan and then coat with a combination of wilted chard, translucent onions, crunchy bacon and a nice dusting of grated parmesan. This pasta combines all of the flavors that I loved in that pizza. And the nice thing about this recipe is you don't have to wait the 30-45 minutes for dough to rise - you get rather quick gratification. This is a perfect, easy going summer meal. I could even see it being modified to add some fresh, meaty tomatoes when available to provide a little added tang to the dish.

Recipe by Bon Appetit Test Kitchen - May 2008

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 12 oz bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 very large red onion, halved, sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, stemmed, chopped (about 12 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  • Meanwhile, cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Drain all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add Swiss chard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add pasta cooking liquid to skillet. Toss until chard is wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle vinegar over; cook 1 minute.
  • Add linguine and oil to sauce in pot and toss to coat. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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