Swiss chardSwiss chard

I know that nobody wants to read about someone else’s homespun pasta dish, but this post is more about the sauce than the pasta.

I am way into swiss chard these days, especially the stems (my beloved spinach and collards have been displaced). I’ve been ordering bunches from FreshDirect and cooking the leaves on one night and the stems on another. Sometimes I cook them separately on the same night and serve them together. Sometimes I boil them and then sauté them, and sometimes I don’t bother boiling. Tonight, I cooked the chopped stems with onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil for over an hour, until they were meltingly soft and sweet. On top of FD’s fresh fettuccine with parmesan, it was a lovely, healthy dinner.

Now it’s confession time: I have gotten in the questionable habit of adding a few tablespoons of Rao’s jarred marinara sauce to my pasta sauces. Years ago, I would just dump half a jar of Classico on boiled spaghetti, so at least I’ve moved on from that. Do I need to feel bad about this? It’s such a simple, high-quality sauce, and it flavors and emulsifies my own sauces so nicely. It takes me a long time to get through one overpriced jar, but I always feel a little guilty during the act, and I keep my back to the rest of the room. Especially when I am licking the spoon clean.


From someone who still dumps half a jar of canned sauce on penne and calls it a night sometimes (hey, I’m a grad student on a budget – don’t judge!), I think that it’s fine to add a bit of pre-made sauce to give yours a kick. Besides, what is so great about the cooking you do is the other great ingredients, like the chard here. As long as what you add doesn’t distract from that, I say go for it.

You’ve just totally convinced me to plant that fall crop of Swiss Chard, by the way. Thanks!

If you’ve got “crops,” that counts for something.

I saw a refrigerator commercial recently that unsubtly equated pulling fresh food from this fridge (and presumably only this this fridge) to pulling it out of the ground. Smiling farmers, smiling housewives… barf.

We’re getting a new fridge tomorrow. (Rebecca arrives the same day, making it very much like Christmas.) I doubt it comes with a timeworn sharecropper, but anything with a defrosting freezer will be a huge improvement.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kathryn! I can’t believe you get to plant things; you’re so lucky. Enjoy your chard!

The objective im cooking is to unite the very best ingredients, whatever their source, so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Sounds like you’re there.

Add a comment