Swiss Chard Pasta

A dish that surprises everyone

We like the taste of Swiss chard but were surprised at how well it worked with the pasta. And the look - a really beautiful dish on the table. Adapted from the "The New Cook's Tour of Sonoma" as reported in the San Jose Mercury News.  (Updated 2016)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6


A. green Swiss chard 1 pound  
  penne pasta 1 pound  

Bring 2 quarts of well salted water to a boil.

Wash and dry chard.

Hold a chard leaf upside down by the end of its stem. Run a sharp knife quickly along each edge of the white stalk to separate the greens. Repeat with each chard leaf. 

Slice the white stalks across the grain into 1/4 inch long pieces - little strips really.

Gather all the green leaves together. Roll them up like a cigar. Slice the rolled up leaves into 1/2 inch pieces. Now chop once or twice along the length of the pile of leaves. Keep them separate and set aside.

Add the pasta to the water.

B. coarse mustard 2 tablespoons Use the kind with whole or broken mustard seeds in it. Dijon from crushed seeds works well.
red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon  

In a bowl combine mustard and vinegar, just stir it up a bit. Set it aside.
C. olive oil 3 tablespoons   
garlic 3 cloves Peeled and crushed. Do not mince, it will burn.
dried red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon  

In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over a hot stove until the oil shimmers. Before the oil smokes add the garlic and pepper.

Stirring constantly, sauté until the garlic is a golden brown. Be careful to not burn the garlic.

Add the white chard stems and cook 3 minutes.

Add the chard leaves, cover and cook until wilted and tender; about 6 minutes.

Remove from heat and salt to taste. Do not drain.
D. Romano cheese 4 ounces Grated - not shredded
pecans 1 cup Chopped coarsely
prosciutto 4 ounces Optional

Drain the pasta and put it in a large bowl.

Add the mustard mixture and toss the pasta; coat it well.

Add the chard mixture and the pecans. Add prosciutto, if using it. Toss to distribute the chard well.

Add the cheese and toss again.

Serve immediately.