Let’s not beat around the bush here. I’ve been gone way too long. You probably thought I fell into a black hole of top ramen and take out and although there may be some truth to that what’s important is that I’m back with a recipe that I’m sure will make up for my absence.
Lately I’ve had this dish that’s been sneaking into my brain and sending mouth-watering messages to my stomach causing severe pregnant woman style cravings. Ever had one of those? For Steve and I it was Mara’s Swiss Chard Ravioli with Brown Butter Onion Sauce and since swinging up to Cowichan Bay, Canada to eat it every few weekends really isn’t an option I was determined to come up with my own version, which is ambitious considering Mara is an extremely accomplished chef and a year ago I had no idea what swiss chard was.
Swiss chard is beautiful and very healthy. It sits on the shelf at the market with its big, dark green leaves and it’s rainbow veins piercing through its skin. It looks exotic but since it’s too bitter to use in a salad and I’m not a big fan of mushy cooked down greens I always kept my distance – until I signed up for Laura’s weekly veggie drops and was showered with more chard than I knew what to do with. It was time to like chard and like it quick! So we wrapped fish with it, we steamed it with lemon juice and garlic, wrapped it around cous cous… not bad, but Steve and I weren’t exactly fighting for the leftovers. Now enter our trip to Fairburn Farm and the gates to the chard world were re-opened. Singing angels and everything. My next mission; to create Mara’s Swiss Chard Ravioli. The occasion; a very special birthday dinner.
After an incredibly successful trip to the local Farmer’s Market where I was able to snag the first season’s crop of baby chard and a huge bag of jerusleum artichokes (more on those another time) I practically skipped out of the market dreaming of how wonderful these ravioli were going to be.
The only hiccup … I didn’t have a recipe and the star of the dinner is suppose to be this fancy ravioli that I’ve been talking about for two months. I was a little nervous. Make that a lot nervous. Keep it simple. That’s what I kept telling myself so I chopped some garlic, shallots and started to sauté the chard. Gorgeous. Toss is a couple of splashes of white wine. Lovely. Add a little veggie stock. I may just pull this off! Now what? It needs cheese. Parmesan. Ok that looks good. Let’s add mascarpone. As always a little salt – and a bit of lemon zest to finish it off. Taste…. OMG this is delicious! How did I just do that? Oh no. I just made a cream sauce…this isn’t going to work for a ravioli. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot.
And that is how my creamy swiss chard pasta was born. The kitchen looked like a war zone and I was relieved that my guests were running late. Steve was able to turn our ravioli dough into a quick fettuccini and we had am amazing dinner. And of course the swiss chard fettuccini was the star! We talked about it for days and I was so pleased with that I’m going to make it for my in-laws this weekend.
Creamy Swiss Chard Pasta
Prep time is 10 minutes. Cook time 15 minutes. Serves 4.
1 batch of fresh pasta – store bought is ok too
1 bunch of swiss chard – the more colorful the better!
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
2 medium shallots chopped
1/4 cup of white wine – use one you like
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
6 oz of mascarpone cheese
Zest from one lemon
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Sauté the garlic and shallots in the olive oil gently over medium heat. Cut the stem off the chard and cut the leaves into ribbons. Add chard to the pan with the shallots and garlic. Sauté until bright green about 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and veggie stock. Bring the heat down to medium low and let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until chard is tender.
- Add the Parmesan and mascarpone. Stir until the cheese melts and is nicely incorporated. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon zest.
- Drain pasta but leave just a little bit of pasta water in the pan. Add the creamy chard sauce and toss to coat. Serve with fresh Parmesan and feel good about eating your greens!