June 30, 2011

Mario Batali's Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu

I tried this recipe from Mario Batali's newest book Molto Gusto and it was fabulous! I use swiss chard almost every day in my green juice but this is the first time I've cooked with it. I'm trying to grow rainbow chard this year so hopefully I can make this again with my own greens. I highly recommend this book - it is all about simple Italian meals with a vegetarian focus. I find this fits with the food philosophy I'm most drawn to - eat good food, real food, a little less of it, and enjoy every bite!
Pennette w/Swiss Chard Ragu by Mario Batali
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 small white onion, halved, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 pound Swiss chard trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces
Coarsely ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 pound pennette (small penne)
¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs, fried in olive oil until golden brown (recipe below)
Serves 6

Combine the oil, onion, garlic, and chard in a large pot and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chard are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Season well with Maldon salt, add 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is very tender, about 20 minutes. Add the butter, stirring until it melts, then season with pepper and remove from the heat. While your ragu is cooking, cook your pasta al dente (add 3T kosher salt to the water after it boils). Reserve 1/2c+ of the pasta water!
this picture is during the first 5 minutes, I didn't take one of the finished ragu
the ragu can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, let cool, then cover and refrigerate
reheat in a large pot over medium-low heat before adding the pasta.

Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the chard ragu and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add more pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce). Stir in the cheese. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the bread crumbs and grated Parm. 

Bread Crumbs
Don't skip this step & don't buy the bread crumbs - it totally made this dish awesome. I ground up baguette in my mini food processor until it was on the coarse/chunky side. Mario says put them in the food processor until they "are about 1/4 inch in size"

Heat 1T olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add 1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs, and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and let cool.


  1. i LOVE mario and think he is a genius. so happy to see he has something new out. i will be picking this up for sure.

  2. It is worth the $ - great, simple recipes!

  3. I just started using Swiss Chard in green/beet smoothies, too! Yee haw!


  4. I saved my stems for green juice tomorrow! Using the whole plant - straight out of our garden!!!



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