Monday, September 19, 2011

Meatless Mondays - Roasted Tomato and Swiss Chard Pappardelle


Roasting tomatoes and garlic brings out the sweetness inherent to both. When combined with the sharp cheese, creamy pine nuts and fresh herbs this dish is simple yet the flavours are full and comforting. I recently made this dish for a friend of mine who is expecting and does not want to eat anything but tomatoes!! For her, I removed the vermouth and used Parmesan instead of Chevre, which was equally good!

Roasted Tomato and Swiss Chard Pappardelle

2 pints mixed cherry and grape tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 bunch fresh herbs (I've used rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme)
1 bunch Swiss chard
 2/3 cup dry vermouth
fresh or dry pappardelle pasta nests (about 375 g)   
10-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
small bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped  
handful of fresh basil, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper 
Chevre / Parmesan / Pecorino

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2.    In an oven proof dish, combine 2 T olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, bunch of fresh herbs (reserve parsley and handful of basil for later use), and a large pinch of salt and pepper (about 1.5 t of each). Roast for 10-15 minutes. (keep an eye on them, they are done when they are well blistered). Remove from oven and set aside (This can be done ahead of time and then you can reheat them when you make the sauce). When you are ready to use, remove the bunch of fresh herbs and discard. 

3.    Boil water for pasta and add 1 T salt to the water. Add the pasta, and cook according to package directions.  

4.    Meanwhile, in a separate saute pan, brown the pine nuts in the dry pan, remove, and set aside. 

5.    Chop Swiss chard. In the same saute pan as above, heat 1 T of olive oil, add Swiss chard, salt and pepper, and saute until Swiss chard is wilted.  

6.    When the Swiss chard is wilted, add the tomato mixture and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the flavours come together. Add half of the fresh chopped herbs (parsley and basil), and 3/4 of the pine nuts. Stir to combine. 

7.    When the pasta is done, drain, but retain at least 1 cup of the cooking water. Add pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine. If it seems like it needs more liquid, add some of the cooking water, about 2 T at a time, until the sauce coats the pasta. 

8.     To serve, top with remaining herbs, pine nuts and the cheese of your choice. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer Garden Salad

As summer winds down this week, I am coming to terms with the end of another warm season. The leaves are just starting to change and soon we will be seeking the warming comfort of stews, homemade bread and soups. Summer always passes too quickly, with so many exciting obligations, cottages, vacations, pools to be enjoyed! I never get as much time to blog as I plan!

I wanted to spend this last week celebrating our garden. This year we had a huge garden. It was a lot of work but we have been harvesting the benefits for months now. By far the star of our garden this year was the beautiful tomato. We planted, in total, 67 plants. Yes, a tad excessive. But we have had fun trying all of the new heirloom varieties. I can say that I have eaten tomatoes, in some form, at almost all meals for about two months now and I am still craving them. I think I could live on tomatoes like these, daily, for the rest of my life! So, many of the recipes this week have that theme (perhaps I will call it an homage to the tomato).

My first recipe, however, is created from a mixture of many of the vegetables in our garden. All of the veggies, herbs and lettuce used in this salad come from the garden (save and except for the pine nuts). This is an easy summer classic garden salad. I make it regularly throughout the season. It is an excellent way to celebrate the harvest, add whatever you have fresh on hand!

Summer Garden Salad
3 or 4 large handfuls of lettuce (I used arugula and Boston bib)
1 bunch of french breakfast radishes, sliced thinly
large handful of mixed herbs (I used chives, basil, mint, oregano and parsley)
large handful of fresh mixed grape tomatoes, halved 
garden cucumber, sliced thin
small handful of toasted pine nuts

Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Dijon Mustard
White Balsamic Vinegar