I have the most convenient times for food cravings. Right now our kitchen is completely unusable while it’s under construction. The stove is off the gas line, the sink is not even anywhere in the kitchen but resides in the middle of our living room hanging out and waiting for the demolition to be over and the re-building to begin again. All in the name of kitchen renovation.
I’m not sure I ever want to go through this again- but ask me six months from now and I may want to redesign something in the kitchen, or paint a wall a different than my husband will painstakingly do it in the color I have selected.
Back to the food craving part.
Yes, it’s Fall. My favorite season of year. It reminds me of starting school (I loved that), going to farmers markets, and the smell of pies. As my taste buds grew more sophisticated and I learned all about fall produce, which includes leafy greens like kale, spinach and Swiss chard I decided to make what every good Italian woman would do- add them to pasta. Not make smoothies out of them.
I love this recipe so much I’ve actually shared it often. I’ve made it for my family a lot but I’ve also shared it for the Quick Weeknight Meals section of SISTERS magazine earlier this year, and I taught a cooking class at the non-profit organization, the UMMA Center, where class participants loved it so much they actually came back and told me they made it at home using whatever leafy greens they had.
You can make it with or without chicken, but you may also want to add beef or fish, too. Very versatile. That’s the way I like it- don’t limit the variety of possibilities in food. That’s what makes things stressful.
I bread the chicken lightly with all-purpose flour, not bread crumbs, for this dish. Otherwise you’ll have lots of crumbs getting into the pasta and that’s not very appealing. The flour bag- don’t mind it. I fold mine up and put the bags in the freezer to keep them fresher for longer. It works.
Get some really nice Swiss Chard- even the kind that has yellow stems.
Separate the stems from the leaves. The stems take longer to soften up during cooking.
Chop up the stems small, they’ll cook more quickly.
The pasta needs to be prepared ahead of time so that it can be quickly incorporated into the dish when the chicken and Swiss chard are finished cooking.
Sprinkle the pasta with olive oil to prevent it from sticking until you’re ready to add it to the dish. It’ll also help make it easier to fold into the other ingredients during the cooking process.
I use a lot of Swiss chard- about a head for this dish, and it shrinks up so much, you may want to use to. Get in all those vitamins and minerals- Swiss chard and other leafy greens are high in Vitamins K, A, C and magnesium, potassium and iron.
Wow, that’s a mouthful.
Creamy Fusilli Pasta with Swiss Chard and Chicken
By September 20, 2013Published:
- Yield: 4 Servings
Packed with vitamins and minerals, enjoy your leafy greens with this delicious pasta dish. It may be one of the easiest ways you'll get picky eaters to eat their greens.
- 2 large bunches fresh Swiss chard stems and leaves (approximately 12 ounces)
- 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into 8 pieces and pounded thinly
- 1 egg whisked
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1/2 cup half and half or more, if desired
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Wash the stems and leaves of the Swiss chard and dry thoroughly. Roughly chop the leaves and dice the stems into smaller ones- keep the leaves and the stems separate from one another.
- Prepare the chicken by patting each piece completely dry with a paper towel. Arrange two separate plates- one with the flour and one to contain the chicken once it has been dipped in the flour. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the flour and mix to combine.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the whisked egg and then dredge it in flour and set aside until all the pieces have been done.
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil then add the chicken. Brown on each side, approximately 3-5 minutes per side then remove from the pan, placing them on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Add a little more oil to the sauté pan then add the onions and stems of the Swiss chard. Sauté until both are softened and translucent then add the garlic and the chard leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and reduce heat, cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the browned chicken to the pan and mix into the cooked Swiss chard. If the pan needs a little liquid, add a tablespoon on water or broth to prevent any sticking.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir to combine thoroughly. Add the half & half and mix well. Let simmer for a minute or two while the cream is warmed.
- Remove from heat and serve in individual plates while hot. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.