Swiss chard is a great-tasting earthy green. We don’t have a lot of weeks with swiss chard in the CSA Shares, so I was really excited to try out a new swiss chard recipe this week. A lot of people don’t know what to do with swiss chard, and this creative take on creamed spinach is a great way to showcase this green. We grow a lot of not so ordinary greens on the farm, if you’re not sure what to do with them try using them in recipes that call for more common greens like spinach. The different flavors and textures will really change the dish and give it a new spin. Remove the stems from the chard leaves, so this dish will have a creamy texture.
Compost the stems, or cook them on their own. Roll the bundle up the best you can, and cut into long thin ribbons. Thoroughly rinse the greens and leave the water clinging to them. Place in a large pot and cook with the lid for about 5 minutes, until the greens are softened. Typically the bunches of greens in our CSA shares are much larger than store-bought bunches, it will look like too much chard, but it will cook down a lot.
While the greens are cooking slice the onions very thin. I have to admit, I started with three onions and then took some out of the pan. For these larger spring onions, two is perfect. If the onions have greens on top go ahead and use them.
Squeeze all the water out of the chard, transfer to a strainer and squeeze with a towel or paper towel. The drier the better. Wipe out the pan, and melt the butter. Cook the onions in butter until completely softened, mix in the flour and cook the roux. The trick to making this sauce is to heat the milk before you add it to the pan, it helps make the sauce really smooth. If you like your pasta saucy, you can add an extra 1/4 cup milk.
When the sauce is smooth, add the parmesan and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the chard. I separated the leaves with my hands and mixed everything together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, I added lots of fresh ground black pepper. Serve with extra grated cheese.
Creamed Swiss Chard & Spring Onion Pastaadapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, cut into thin ribbons (don’t dry)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
salt + pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 lb pasta
Place chard in a large covered pot. Cook over medium low heat about 5 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a strainer and squeeze water out until chard is very dry, set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain and reserve.
Warm milk in a saucepan. Keep warm on the stove.
Melt butter over medium heat. Cook onions with a pinch of salt and pepper until completely softened. Whisk in flour. Cook roux about 4 minutes, whisking occasionally. Stream in the warm milk, and cook for about 4 more minutes, whisking constantly until sauce is thickened. Mix in parmesan and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add cooked swiss chard. Toss cooked pasta with chard and onion mixture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve with extra parmesan.
Gluten Free Variation: I have made this with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and brown rice noodles with great results.
Add bacon. Before you sauté the onions crisp 1/4 – 1/2 lb bacon sliced into lardons. Remove bacon from the pan and drain all but one tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan. Reduce butter to 2 tablespoons and follow directions as written.