This is an excellent hearty dish on a cold winter evening. Since it’s pasta, it makes a lot, which is great for leftovers. The red chard contributes a vegetable to the dish and the walnuts add protein and fiber.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 lb. short cut pasta, such as bow ties
6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh rosemary
1 ½ cups walnut pieces, toasted, divided
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock
½+ Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
2 bunches of red chard, leaves torn, stems chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a small handful of salt when the water comes to a boil and put the pasta in the water. Cook the pasta according to the package direction.
While the water is coming up to a boil cook the chard and prep the walnut rosemary pesto.
Place the walnut pieces in a dry skillet over medium heat to toast.
Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium high heat (you will add the pasta to the dish later). Add the chard stems and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes until they begin to soften. Now add the torn chard leaves and a bit of water. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until the leaves are wilted. Stir the chard stems and leaves occasionally.
While the chard stems are sautéing make the pesto. Place the ¼ cup of fresh rosemary, the 6 chopped garlic cloves, 1 cup toasted walnut pieces, ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, ¾ teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ cup of olive oil in a food processor or blender and blend until it is somewhat smooth. Add some vegetable or chicken stock if more liquid is needed. It should be a thick sauce. You may not need all of the stock. You can also just add more olive oil, rather than stock, if you prefer. Taste for seasoning. It should be a little bit too salty, since you will be adding it to the pasta, which will need some seasoning.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the water, reserving some water to add to the sauce if necessary.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the chard. Keep the pan over low heat. Toss the pasta and chard together. Pour the walnut rosemary pesto over the pasta and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts. Let heat for a minute or two. Add some pasta water if necessary to thin out the sauce. Turn the heat off.
Serve the pasta with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top!