Tuesday Dinner: Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Casserole

 

The finished product.

I’ve been on the disabled list for the past 72 hours due to an abrupt case of strep throat. One of the consequences of the ailment has been the absence of my senses of taste and smell. Last night, The Wife put The Baby’s butt in my face for an impromptu “Did she poop?” check. No clue. Everything smells like nothing.

 

That was until this morning, when I got my first real taste of the cough syrup I was prescribed by the urgent care doctor on Sunday (VILE!). My newly rediscovered sense validated my choice of Tuesday dinner.

When I went to college at St. Bonaventure University, there was this little Italian place across the street called Pasta Luigi’s. My favorite dish on the menu was the Pasta Louis–a baked casserole of ditalini pasta, chick peas, diced tomato and sausage topped with mozzarella. Assuming I did not scarf it down in one seating, this was one of those dishes that tasted twice as good the next day. So, when I saw this recipe from The Kitchn, I was taken back to my now dearly-departed fav eatery in Olean (their red clam sauce and fresh pasta were awesome, as was the to-go spaghetti bucket). I don’t often see pasta and chickpeas put together in the same dish.The Kitchn’s recipe is fine, but I wanted to adjust it a touch to get closer to Pasta Louis. We haven’t had goat cheese here in a while, so that was a keeper. As for sausage from the Pasta Louis, I was afraid at how the sausage and goat cheese would fight for attention. So, I went with chickpeas for protein.

Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Casserole
Inspired by and adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 large head Swiss chard, cut at the stems
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped well-drained canned plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (small-shape, like shells or farfalle)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the Swiss chard, drain very well, and chop it into chunky pieces. Size is not important as the greens will cook down in the pan and during baking.

 

Don't overcook the chard. Let it wilt, but not shrink down too much.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add onion. Cook until slightly tender, then add garlic. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes and swiss chard, cooking until the greens wilt (approx. 8 mins.)

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F and bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta as instructed, drain, then set aside.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the beans, goat cheese, and half of the parmesan. Add the pasta, folding with a spatula. Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour the mixture into a two-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining parmesan and bake until heated all the way through (15-18 minutes).

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