In the dead of winter, bitter greens are the saviors of flavorful dinners. Italian greens such as swiss chard, kale, broccoli rabe and escarole, or American southern favorites such collards, dandelion or turnip greens offer a vibrant bite just waiting to liven up a winter supper. It can be a challenge though. We love these greens for deep, complex flavors that have everything to do with their bitterness, but they need to be tamed for their wonderful essence to emerge.
The go-to favorite winter green for my family and our relatives in Italy’s Abruzzo region is swiss chard. We tame it by blanching it and then sautéing it with the regional holy trinity of olive oil, garlic and hot pepper flakes in an Italian preparation called ripassati. The olive oil is key, bringing flavors together on the palate and melding the assertive flavors of these ingredients with that of the chard to make them all work perfectly together.
Rainbow Chard makes a colorful display. Photo courtesy of Simona Carini of briciole
At a time of year when many other vegetables are absent from farmers market stalls, swiss chard delivers a brilliant punctuation to many dishes. Adding a shower of Parmesan adds richness or a dose of spicy sausage offers sweetness, while both harness the chard’s bite.
This pasta bake recipe combines all these flavors for a hearty winter supper in the cucina povera style. But make no mistake, there’s nothing “poor” about the triple play of its sensory pleasures – aroma + taste+ visual appeal.
This week I am joining friends at #SundaySupper to showcase tantalizing dishes made with greens. Check out their links below.
Swiss Chard & Sausage Pasta Bake
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, caramelized
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup roasted, diced zucchini
6 ounces browned sweet Italian sausage, sliced in its casings
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
8 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
6 ounces goat cheese, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound gemelli pasta, cooked in 6 quarts boiling water, per directions
Saute onions in olive oil. Caramelize for 20-30 minutes. Add chicken broth and cook down for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Cook sausage till browned. Remove from heat and slice.
Slice zucchini in thin long strips. Drizzle zucchini with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast till browned, 10-15 minutes. Cool and dice.
Remove stems from swiss chard. Roughly chop and blanch. Plunge into ice to stop cooking. Saute garlic in olive oil with hot pepper flakes. Add swiss chard and cook 2-3 minutes to retain its bright green color and flavor
Boil water and add gemelli pasta. Cook per directions. Drain.
Spray 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine onions, zucchini, sausage, ricotta and parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with mounds of swiss chard and tablespoons of goat cheese.
Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes till heated through, and serve.
Eat Your Greens Recipe Collection - #Sunday Supper Movement
Green Light Appetizers and Sides
- Espinacas con Crema (Creamed Spinach) from La Cocina de Leslie
- Steakhouse Style Creamed Spinach from It's Yummi!
- Oven-Fried Green Beans from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Irish Champ from girlichef
- Fresh Herb Tabouleh from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
- Moroccan Greens from Cooking On The Ranch
- Broccoli and Cheese Soup from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes from MealDiva
- Spinach and Artichoke Squares from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Green Rice from Basic N Delicious
- Broccoli and Blue Cheese Tarts from Mess Makes Food
- Avocado Fries from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Spinach Cashew Pakoras with Tangy Date Sauce from Sue's Nutrition Buzz
- Garlicky Italian Green Beans and Potatoes from Webicurean
Getting Greens Through Salads
- Pixie Dust Salad with Avocados, Pixie Tangerines and Radishes from Shockingly Delicious
- Roasted Broccoli Spinach Salad from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Apple, Spinach and Zucchini Salad from Hip Foodie Mom
- Brussels Sprouts Slaw from Hot Momma's Kitchen Chaos
- Asparagus-Fennel-Pea Shoot Salad from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing from The Foodie Army Wife
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Salad from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy
- Eggs and Greens Pizza from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
- Creamy Green Pizza from The Foodie Patootie
- Shamrock Spinach Crepes from Curious Cuisiniere
- Healthy Green Pasta from Momma's Meals
- Swiss Chard & Sausage Pasta Bake from Delaware Girl Eats
- Smothered Cabbage with Pork from Food Lust People Love
- Spinach Fettuccine with Bacon Alfredo from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Roasted Asparagus Eggs Benedict With Cajun Hollandaise from Having Fun Saving
- Indulgent Pesto Risotto from The Weekend Gourmet
- Twice Baked Turkey Pie with Cabbage from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Slow-Cooker Irish Stout Chicken Stew from FoodieTots
- Chicken and Asparagus Flatbread Pizza from Family Foodie
Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green
- Lemon Kiwi Meringue Pie from Desserts Required
- Mint Cookies and Stout Shake from Melanie Makes
- Verde Sangria from Country Girl in the Village
- Baileys Mint Ice Cream & Chocolate Stout Float from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Shamrock Cookies from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Green Tea Latte from Manu's Menu
- Grasshopper Mousse from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Amazing Grass Brownies from Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Leprechaun Ice Cream from Cookistry
- White Chocolate Cupcakes with Pistachio Pudding Frosting from Cookin' Mimi
- Collard Greens, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bread Pudding from The Texan New Yorker
- Coconut Avocado Ice Cream from URBAN BAKES
- Lime Meltaways from Pies and Plots
- Chocolate Mint Cake from NinjaBaking.com
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.