Monday, February 21, 2011

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Onions, Kalamata Olives and Pecorino Cheese

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Onions, Kalamata Olives, and Pecorino
Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Onions, Kalamata Olives and Pecorino

I fear I am becoming notorious for the long named recipes.

I am currently in Arizona for a week with the family in the sun. It's blues break around here and my sweet friend Melissa invited us to go with them to her parents second house in Tuscon. They have a pool. I am in heaven.

I am leaving you with this delicious and fresh pasta dish while I am gone. I made it last week for Jeremy's sister and brother in law, Charis and Andrew. Andrew said it tasted like real Italian food and reminded him of what he ate while visiting the country.

This is a mild pasta. It is subtle, allowing all the different flavors of the onions, tomatoes, chard and garlic be unmasked and not weighed down by a heavy sauce. The background flavor comes from the addition of white wine and it compliments the rest of the dish beautifully. Everyones favorite part though, were the toppings of salty olives, toasted pine nuts and a sprinkling of pecorino. It gives the whole thing a ta-da factor.

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Onions, Kalamata Olives and Pecorino
adapted from Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis

serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 bunches Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped (about 10 cups)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juices
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (I used more)
4-5 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the chard and saute until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, wine, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the chard is very ender, stirring occasionally, about5 minutes. Taste the mixture and season again with salt if needed. Salt will bring out the flavor of everything else.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the spaghetti. Add the spaghetti to the chard mixture and toss to combine.

Transfer pasta to serving bowls and sprinkle with olives, cheese and toasted pine nuts and serve.

If you are not familiar with swiss chard you can use fresh baby spinach instead. Just buy the biggest container you can find and use that since both chard and spinach wilt down to practically nothing. Feel free to play around with this recipe. Add more wine, more cheese, more red pepper flake. This is just the way I like it but you can adapt it to your taste and make it your own.


  1. So jealous you are in AZ! Have fun in the sun :) it's pourrinnnggg rain here, not fun!

  2. Oh my goodness - get in my belly!!!!! I LOVE swiss chard. printing this one out to make this week! Oh and Enjoy the the warm weather, sunshine, and that pool!!!

  3. This looks soooo tasty! I need to give this a try. Enjoy your vacation! We are expecting another winter storm! :)

  4. Its 2am and I am salivating. I have never made anything with swiss chard, but I think I may have to try!

    Have fun in AZ!