Sunday, March 14, 2010

Orecchiette and Chard

Chard, pasta and cheese

Yum, you are so delicious

My plate is clean. More?

The chard recipe comes from Fresh from the Farmers’ Market by Janet Fletcher. It is a helpful cookbook to have on hand if you frequent farmers markets because the produce is divided by season. When there are so few ingredients in a recipe, I like them to be the best quality possible. I made my own orecchiette for the dish using an old recipe from my mountain of clippings from Gourmet magazine.

Orecchiette and Chard

For orecchiette

½ cup warm water

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ¼ cups semolina

For chard

2 bunches chard

olive oil

6 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 ounces ricotta salata, grated

Make orecchiette:

Stir together water and sea salt in a bowl until salt has dissolved. Add semolina in a stream, beating with an electric mixer at medium speed until a stiff dough forms, about two minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead with lightly floured hands (use all-purpose flour) until smooth and elastic, about six minutes. Divide dough into five pieces and let stand under an overturned bowl 30 minutes.

Line each of two trays (or a work surface) with a dry kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and dust with some semolina. Keeping remaining dough covered, roll one piece of dough into a 14-inch-long rope (about ¾ inch thick) on an unfloured surface. Cut rope into ¼ -inch pieces. Dust your thumb with some flour and press down on each piece of dough, pushing away from you and twisting your thumb slightly to form an indented curled shape (like an ear). Transfer as formed to lined trays. Make more orecchiette with remaining dough. Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes.

Make chard:

Wash chard in a sinkful of cold water. Separate chard leaves from ribs. Chop ribs and boil in a large pot until tender, about two minutes. Add leaves and cook additional two minutes until wilted. Drain and press out extra water. Coarsely chop.

Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic and hot pepper fakes and sauté until garlic is lightly colored, about two minutes. Add chard, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Keep warm

Cook orecchiette:

Cook orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (three tablespoons salt for six quarts water) until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of cooking water.

Return pasta to pot and add one tablespoon olive oil. Toss until coated, add chard and ricotta salata and toss again. Add a little of the reserved water if needed to keep the pasta moist.

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