Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Broccoli Pesto Fussili with Swiss Chard

I walk past our garden every day and completely avoid eye contact with the 6 bushes of severely over grown swiss chard. Here's the thing.... I don't really like it. It is truly a constant struggle to eat my greens. If I could get my nutrients from that really awesome (kind of terrible) Olive Garden ice-berg lettuce salad.... I would eat the shit out of it every day. But unfortunately, it just isn't so.

I try. I really do. I can eat kale if it is drenched in caesar dressing or hidden in a taco. (This recipe for Kale Caesar is currently my favorite food.) And collard greens are pretty fantastic when stewed with bacon for 14 hours...... healthy right? I may as well just move to Burbank and live next door to Olive Garden.

And with that terrifying image of my possible future, I put on my grown up pants (or summer dress) and decided to go out and actually pick some swiss chard today. (Well, I actually made Richard go out and pick some for me, but that's no surprise.) I figured that if I can gag my way through a shot of wheat grass in the morning, I can suck it up and eat my greens. Now, since eating RAW swiss chard is obviously out of the question, I decided that I was going to have to turn these bitter leaves into something fabulous.

What's always fabulous?! PASTA! (duh.... have you read my blog before?)

And here it is.... delicious, whole wheat, nutrient packed, pasta that even overcomes the other constant battle in our household of boy food vs. chick food. Yes, healthy, vegetarian, Rich Keith approved, and full of fresh, garden picked swiss chard!

While I admit to not liking my greens..... I do eat pretty much every other veggie with a big, pretty smile on my ginger face. Veggies are delicious (just some more than others!) 
Don't worry Mom. I eat my veggies with my elbows off the table. You taught me well and I will leave it to my excessive wine drinking to be what let's you down. 

Broccoli Pesto Fussili with Swiss Chard

2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup of toasted walnuts
2/3 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic
Juice and zest of 1 1/2 lemon (add lemon juice to your own taste... I like lots.)
1 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
16 ounces whole wheat fussili pasta
1 bunch of swiss chard, chopped
Kalamata Olives
Sea salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the broccoli until bright green, but still very crispy. Other recipes that I have read tell you to blanch the broccoli, but this takes out most of the nutrients, so I think that is a really dumb idea. You can add a little water to the pan to help the broccoli cook. Set aside.

Toast walnuts. Usually I do this in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes or so, but this time I just put them in a dry pan (no oil) and sautéed them for a few minutes. They burn quickly, so keep a close eye. Either way will work just fine. 

In a food processor (someone buy me a new one, please. I hate this one.) Combine, toasted walnuts, broccoli, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese. Pulse until combined. Taste. I added a little more salt and pepper and a lot more lemon juice. I really love lemons and it made the pasta taste extra bright and fresh!

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl with the chopped swiss chard. Mix the pasta and swiss chard together... the swiss chard should wilt. Add the broccoli pesto, a handful of kalamata olives, and some more freshly grated parmesan cheese. I also saved a few florets of cooked broccoli to garnish the dish with. 

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