Meatless Monday: Penne with Swiss Chard and Ricotta

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The idea of organic farms are appealing, particularly the local ones that inhabit stalls at the Central New York Regional Market. Sunburst Farms in Moravia is one that I really like. They have the best green beans at the market. They taste so damn good that I don’t mind nipping the two quarts that I pick up (when they have them…the rain has wrecked their bean crop this year).

Sometimes the people behind the tables are even more interesting the food being sold. The first farm in the C shed — I can’t remember its name — is hipsterific. The man looks a lot like singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne. The woman (his wife) has a wardrobe inspired by the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. True hipster look, where you pair two items that have no business going together — like a football helmet and peasant dress — and pretending that it’s normal. Last weekend, she was wearing cocktail dress, green Army coat and a floppy straw hat. It was great.

Even better is their produce selection. It’s a non-certified organic farm (certification would be so conformist, maaaaaaaan) and their bunches of greens are all $3.50 apiece. I walked away with a massive bunch of swiss chard and two very annoying quarters.

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The chard was great, but like the leeks from last week, really dirty. After chopping the leaves and stems, I found myself scrubbing the leaves by hand. I don’t mind a little dirt in my food, but The Wife gets kind of skeeved out.

IMG_4257WHAT WORKED: The ricotta, surprisingly. It was just salty enough to add flavor and the creamy texture was nice.

WHAT DIDN’T: Cast iron. The guards on my stove get REALLY hot and I burned the hell out of my knuckle.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “I really like this and I didn’t think I was going to.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: This has fall or winter written all over it.

Penne with Swiss Chard and Ricotta
Adapted from Mother Thyme

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bunch large bunch Swiss chard, chopped and thoroughly cleaned
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • kosher salt

Cook pasta to the directions on the package. Remove from heat and drain 1 to 2 minutes before done. Set aside.

IMG_4261In the meantime, add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of a large saute pan. Place chopped Swiss chard on top with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until Swiss chard is just wilted. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

IMG_4264 IMG_4267Heat olive oil in the same saute pan over medium heat. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the pasta and toss to coat with garlic and oil. Stir in Swiss chard, grated cheese and beans. Toss and cook 1 minutes. Dollop with ricotta cheese. Turn heat to low, cover the pan and cook until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

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