While in Los Angeles with family this spring my sister brought over leftovers from a catering gig. She had deliciously chopped and stewed greens to put with aioli on baguette slices. I couldn’t stop dipping my crackers into the aioli and topping it with the greens. While I normally steer clear of chard there was a tiny kick to her dish and with the smooth garlicky aioli it just worked so well.
After my return to Austin, I was given a bunch of Swiss Chard and Beet Greens. Instead of immediately giving them to someone else or to my compost, I decided I’d see if I could create something I would like too. I brought back several bags of my favorite pasta, La Fabbrica della Pasta Senza Glutine from the Italian Import Store, Guidi Marcello. This pasta is far and away one of my top three pasta options (even if I have to leave room in my suitcase just for a trip to Guidi Marcello). Because this doesn’t have a “sauce” it’s extra important to use a gf pasta that you like the taste of since it will not be masked by heavy flavors.
Pennone Rigato with Greens and Pecorino
2 garlic cloves
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch of greens, chopped finely
chili flakes to taste
salt and pepper
*1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or more
Approximately 12 ounces pasta
In a small saucepan, bring a cup of water to boil. Add the garlic and boil for just 1 minute to take out some of the sharpness. Remove, let cool and chop.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sautee over low-medium heat until translucent. Add another tablespoon of olive oil then the garlic and greens. Stir occasionally until the greens are coated. While the greens are cooking, put the pasta on to cook.
When the greens are wilted, add a pinch of chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the pasta and reserve some of the starchy pasta water. Toss the pasta with the greens and add more olive and 1 tablespoon at a time of the reserved water to create a creamy consistency. Add some of the pecorino and the rest should be added to each individual bowl.
If you have access to goat or sheep ricotta, add a scoop to the pasta for an extra rich flavor.