Squash, Pancetta and Chard Pasta

 

This colorful pasta dish is pretty healthy and very tasty. Not too tricky either. Have enjoyed it many times in the past 5-7 years. I actually thought it was on my blog; not so. Hence this post. I made it this week and it made 4 lovely servings.

It showcases roasted cubes of butternut squash and tender melt in your mouth swiss chard. My amounts are somewhat approximate. It will keep a few days in the fridge. I used gf fettuccine noodles. Don’t overcook them! You could buy pre-peeled and cubed squash to save time. I used some I grew last fall and honestly it didn’t take long to peel and cube it. I suggest you roast the cubes from a whole squash and use as much as you think works for you. Valley Farms has great fresh swiss chard; that’s where I get mine if I don’t grow it myself.  I have made this recipe with thick cut bacon, if that is what you have; go for it.  I got a package of chopped pancetta at Aldi’s pretty cheaply.

 

 

Butternut, Pancetta and Chard Pasta

Ingredients:

1 bunch swiss chard, I like the red stemmed variety, rinsed off

3-4 tbsp. EVOL

1 cup or so of diced red onion; one decent sized one

1 lg garlic clove minced

1 small- medium butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cubed; at least a pound

4 oz pancetta, diced

12 oz dried gf fettucine noodles.

Good quality Parmesan cheese to grate on plated entree

Directions:

Roast the squash; heat the oven to 400 degrees, spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray; spread the cubed squash, drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp of EVOL and ½ tsp. kosher or sea salt, bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes; turn cubes every 15 minutes with a metal spatula to help them cook evenly, a bit of crunch is nice! Start the rest of the recipe as they approach doneness or bake the squash a day before if that works for you. Have done it both ways. Crunchier if made right before serving

 

Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta while you make the chard.  Chop it into 1 inch lengths; set the chopped leaves aside separately from the lower stem bits. Heat the EVOL in a large frying pan or smallish wok. Add the stems and cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, stir, add the onion; cook 3-5 minutes until softening. Add rest of chard in 2-3 handfuls letting it cook down for a minute before stirring and adding the next third. Then push the veggies up the sides or to the edges and add the pancetta. Push the veggies gently back around and over the pancetta. Cook 2-3 minutes until the pancetta is hot and the chard is soft.  Meanwhile you have cooked the pasta to al dente. Add it to the pan with the chard, stir, add the roasted squash cubes. Stir. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top; none of that pre-grated crappy cheese please! Enjoy!

swiss chard pasta plated

 

 

Not sure where I found this recipe but it is a keeper; we often enjoy it in the fall as chard and squash are fall harvest vegetables.

Swiss Chard Taco Thursday….

Vegetarian meals don’t generally thrill me like those made with meat.  That said, I have several delightful vegetarian items I make on occasion.  This is a great meal choice: Swiss chard tacos. My sister made these while I was visiting her.  I was skeptical but found them to be delicious and a great way to use up a lot of the swiss chard!  No meat but you won’t miss it in these flavorful and filling tacos. If you are not familiar with swiss chard it has a rib like celery or fennel and greens too.  It comes in white and green, pink and green/white  or a rainbow chard that can be deep red, orange or bright yellow.  The flavor of chard is rather earthy, goes well with bacon, butternut squash, or garlic and olive oil.

I used Mexican cheese but you can use Monterey Jack as that is what the recipe called for.  The recipe is out of an old Home and Garden magazine. I added some ground cumin too for extra spice. Don’t forget the red wine vinegar, really a great finishing touch.

The white corn tortillas (La Bandarita brand) came from Wegmans; they have one up near Boston.  There are three here near me. Enjoy!

swiss chard taco

Not the prettiest taco but I was in a hurry to devour it!!

Karen’s Swiss Chard Tacos

1 lb Swiss chard

½ tsp. cumin seeds

¼ tsp. ground cumin

½ a red onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 can of black beans, rinsed and well drained

8 tortillas; corn flour

1 cup of Monterey jack cheese or Queso Fresca cheese; grated

1/3 cup sour cream, reduced fat

Directions:

Chop up the chard stems into half inch dice.  Rough chop the rest of the chard and set aside. Heat a large frying pan and add the cumin seeds; cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add olive oil then chard stems.  Cook 3 minutes until softening.  Add the chard leaves that you have rough chopped, ground cumin, onion, garlic and red pepper.  Cook 3 min, stirring.  Add the red wine vinegar and the black beans.  Stir well, cook 3-4 minutes longer.

Meanwhile; heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay tortillas out on baking sheet.  Sprinkle grated cheese in the center of each.  Bake 4-5 minutes until cheese melting and tortilla crisp. Watch them closely so they don’t burn. Remove from oven.  Place a generous amount of chard mixture on each tortilla.  Top with a spoonful of sour cream.  Sprinkle cilantro over top if desired.

Notes: I used low fat sour cream.  I do not recommend fat free as it tastes chalky. Mine was made cilantro free but feel free to put it on yours if you like that herb.

Originally posted by me in August 2016. Minor changes made to text.

Mahi Mahi With Tangy Veggies Over Rice

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I like to combine healthy proteins like fish with lots of great veggies and create awesome flavors to make quick meals yet, food with complex flavor combinations and naturally gluten free.  Case in point;  a frozen fillet of mahi mahi.  I keep a couple individually wrapped fillets in my freezer to form the basis of a quick meal; it has a firm meaty texture and will work well with a number of ingredients. Finding it somewhat bland I like to spark the flavor with a couple great additions to create a delicious meal, olives and capers to name those chosen today.

This is somewhat of a vague recipe, you can use more or less of the ingredients depending on your pantry and your palate.  I used salad olives that have pimento in them, even more flavor!

green olives capersraw cod fish

Mahi Mahi with Veggies   for one; can easily double

Ingredients:

1 4-6 ounce fillet of mahi mahi

1-2 tbsp. mild olive oil

½ a small onion, chopped

1 small celery stalk sliced fairly thinly in rounds

½ cup sliced fresh zucchini, half moons

1 cup chopped swiss chard

8-14 green olives roughly chopped

1 tbsp. capers

2-3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1-2 tbps. Vermouth or dry white wine

1 tbsp. butter

Directions:

Heat a tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan.  Add the fish and cook 3 minutes lip it and cook 3-4 more minutes. You want a nice lightly browned fillet but not overcooked.  Remove from the pan and set aside, covered so it doesn’t get cold.

Add the rest of the oil, heat, add the onions, stir, add the celery and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to soften, 3-4 minutes.  Add the zucchini and the swiss chard.  Stir and cook 5-6 more minutes.  Add up to 2 tbsp. water if the pan seems dry.  The water creates steam and helps to cook the veggies.  Don’t over do it or you will have a soggy mess.

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After 4 of the 5-6 minutes add the chopped olives and the capers.  When the veggies looks about done, return the fish to the pan and pour the fresh lemon juice and Vermouth over the fish and the veggies. Stir another few seconds.  Add a tbsp. of butter and, while it melts, season with a few grinds of fresh pepper.  The butter, lemon juice and wine form a delicate sauce that clings to all the veggies.

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Taste before adding any salt as the capers and olives provide a fair amount of salinity and it is impossible to remove salt once you sprinkle it on.  Serve over hot steamed rice.  I love it over long grain brown rice or long grain white rice.  It is a complete meal without any additions.  Creating it should only take 15 minutes if you already have some cooked rice available.  White rice can be made in less than 20 minutes. Enjoy this healthy yet very flavorful meal some evening soon!