This one is a new fav around here. Packed with all kinds of yummy, healthy goodness, and a ton of veggies, this has become one of Sam's most requested meals.
Swiss chard is a big, leafy green that looks a lot like mustard or collard greens. I get mine fresh every Friday from our wonderful Farmer's Market here in town, and now refuse to buy it from the store after having eaten it so fresh. It's very, very easy to grow, also. It is called 'summer spinach' and tastes like spinach, only slightly sweeter, and a little sturdier. The more ingredients you can find fresh, the better this meal will turn out. This also doubles well for a big family. As written below, this feeds all 4 of us, plus leftovers for at least one grown up lunch, or two kid lunches.
Sauteed Swiss Chard over Penne Pasta
1 large bunch swiss chard, well rinsed, well dried, and very roughly chopped, stems removed
2 raw strips good bacon, diced (optional)
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
white and light green of one leek, minced (you can also do 1/4 cup minced yellow onion)
one large head broccoli, cut into small florets
one large red bell pepper, diced
2/3 c diced or shredded chicken breast (optional)
good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
one pound whole wheat penne pasta, cooked al dente
In a large frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat. When bacon is almost done, add leeks (or onions), garlic, a lot of olive oil, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. (The leeks cook very fast, so you might want to wait a few seconds to add them if your garlic isn't finely minced.) As soon as your garlic starts to look soft, add all the swiss chard to the pan. Pour on more olive oil and add more salt to help bring out all the water from the chard, and carefully turn chard several times, making sure to move the garlic mix, too.
Add broccoli after chard has been cooking for about 2 minutes. Cook until chard is completely wilted, then add bell pepper and chicken. Cook 30 seconds more, adjust seasoning as needed, then pour over the pasta. Generously grate fresh Parmesan over the top, and serve immediately. Enjoy with a good garlic bread!
**This is a good meatless meal, and we sometimes add other veggies at the same time as the broccoli, like sugar snap peas or fresh green beans.