Monday, May 3, 2010

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Brown Butter

Serves 4


Great success tonight: got the toddler to eat chard again, this time with minimal prodding, baiting, bribing and threatening. I think there were two factors that brought this about: 1) we served the pasta with fruit salad, so he got a break in between each bite, and 2) the pasta was REALLY good. I’ve seen recipes with brown butter but have never tried it until tonight. All I have to say is: ethereal. One of the last issues of Gourmet magazine before the publication’s demise devoted a spread to brown butter, most of which was about using it in desserts (pound cake, shortbread cookies, etc). I cut all of them out, but only now feel entirely committed to trying them. It may not be the most economical use of butter, but it is certainly the most transcendent. In fact it’s like putting caramelized gold on your pasta.

1/3 cup brown butter (recipe follows)

1/3 C golden raisins (I only had regular)

1 bunch chard

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti (use brown rice spaghetti for gluten-free version

1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Freshly ground pepper and grated Parmesan cheese

Get the brown butter started first: melt 1/2 C (1 cube) butter in a small saucepan over low heat. As the butter gently simmers, the butter fat and milk solids will separate from each other. The solids will settle to the bottom of the pan, coloring the butter as it cooks.


When it turns a rich amber color, in about 8 to 10 minute, remove from the heat. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a paper towel, cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, and strain out the solids. You should have about exactly 1/3 C of brown butter left behind. Now, take a sniff. Ahhhhh…c’est le paradis laitier!!


While the brown butter is going, set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Plump the currants and golden raisins in a small bowl covered with 1/3 cup hot water. Trim the stems from the chard and slice across the leaves to make 2-inch wide ribbons. Look at this magnificent bounty! PS: I saved the stems from this batch to make chard stem hummus, coming in a day or two.


Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan; add the onion, sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and begins to release its juices. Add the garlic, chard, and the salt. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chard is just barely tender, then reduce the heat to low.

When the water boils, add the spaghetti and some salt (if desired) to the boiling water, timing it to finish cooking with the chard. (The chard should be very tender but not overcooked when the pasta is done.) When the pasta is just tender, drain it immediately in a colander, shake off excess water, and add it to the onions and chard, along with the plumped fruit, walnuts, and brown butter.


Toss together and season with pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

No comments:

Post a Comment