Or stems, if you prefer.
No, not pork ribs, or human stems--nothing quite so decadent. But stay with me. It's just that--now that you are addicted to Swiss chard I bet you are wondering what to do with all those chard middles languishing in your crisper drawer. Am I right?
I am here to help you out.
Well, I'm doing my best anyway. I'm going to tell you up front. My husband's comment on this dish was "I'm glad we're using up the chard stems." As you know, what I'm really aiming for here is more like "Hot damn! Chard stems for dinner!"
And this wasn't quite that. But it has potential, and I think my main mistake was being in too much of a hurry. I recommend that you cook the chard stems until they're downright silky. I took them off the heat when they were still rather crisp and celery-ish.
Give it a try--just be patient.
Swiss Chard Ribs with Goat Cheese and Pasta
Adapted/elaborated from Simply Recipes
Ribs from 2 bunches of Swiss chard
2 Tbsp butter
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 C half-and-half
about 8 oz. dry pasta
3 oz.or so fresh chevre
Salt and pepper
Put a large saucepan or soup pot of salted water on to boil. Wash the chard ribs, trim them, and chop into large-ish pieces. When the water boils, blanch the chard ribs for 3 to 5 minutes. Lift them out with tongs and drain them in a colander. (I know that sounds really specific, but the point is you can save the water to boil your pasta in.)
When the chard ribs are cool enough to handle, chop them into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Heat the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Peel the garlic and press it into the skillet. Saute for a minute or two, then add the chard ribs and saute for a few minutes more. Now add the cream, cover the skillet, turn down the heat, and really just braise the heck out of those chard ribs. Add a little more cream, stock, or water if the skillet gets too dry.
Meanwhile turn on the flame under your pan of water again, and when it returns to a boil add the pasta. Drain when it's al dente.
When the chard ribs are nice and silky, add the drained pasta to the skillet, along with the chevre (crumble it up into little pieces). Toss to heat through and combine, and season with salt and pepper.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.