I like to call pasta dishes like this: “feel good pasta.” Because they feel good after a long day of whatever drama, stress of shenanigans the world has thrown at you. Sitting down with your friends, family or even by yourself, makes it even better with this bowl in front of you.
Swiss chard is available year round but it really thrives in the summer when it grows in pure abundance. It’s dense with nutrients but, to be honest, I just love the flavor. The leaves and stems in this recipe are both used. The stems need a bit more time to cook so I like to divide the two and cook the stems by themselves (with the shallot and garlic cloves). I honestly could just have a big bowl of chard stems—they’re that good. Then the leaves are added. The entire thing is tossed in a super simple sauce made up of pasta water, cheese, crushed red pepper and white wine. It’s delicious and simple! Perfect for a summer pasta.
This recipe originally appeared on the Fresh Tastes blog on PBS Food.
- Olive oil
- 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage links, removed from the casing
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard, stems and leaves divided
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- In a large skillet, set over medium heat, add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausage (removed from its casing) and crumble and break up with a spatula. Cook for about 5 minutes, until sausage is browned. Remove from the pan and transfer to a bowl.
- To prep the Swiss chard, I chopped up the stems into 1/4-inch pieces and roughly chopped up the leaves. Add an additional teaspoon or two of olive oil to the pan. Add the minced shallot, swiss chard stems and garlic. Cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard leaves and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove everything from the pan and transfer to the bowl with the sausage. Turn the flame off.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni according to the package’s instructions, about 8 minutes. Remove about 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside.
- To the large skillet, set over medium heat, add the wine to deglaze the pan. Using a spatula, scrape up any bits left behind from the sausage or Swiss chard. Next, add the pasta water, olive oil, grated Parmesan-Reggiano and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes. At that time, add the reserved pasta, sausage, Swiss chard mixture and peas. Toss until combined. Top with more grated cheese and serve.