You guys have made this tough! When I started this post, I had seven votes for pasta and seven votes for cookies. (Oh, and have you taken my reader survey yet? It's up until Wednesday, so please, Click Here! and tell me your deepest secrets.) Then, last night, one more vote came in, swinging it in favor of pasta.
I gotta say, I was rooting for pasta. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, and if it didn't sound so... well, gross, I'd say I have a green tooth. That is, I can't seem to get enough of them. Plus, look how pretty rainbow chard is! All those beautiful colors from one plant.
And then you toss in some cherry tomatoes and let them get all soft and squishy in a good way. Something about warming up mid-winter cherry tomatoes really does make them taste more tomato-ey.
This recipe comes from Food and Wine, which is one magazine I don't subscribe to. I bought the January issue back at Christmas when I was spending a lot of time in airports. It's by Andy Nusser and apparently it comes from a New Yorker cartoon where the punchline is "fusilli, you crazy bastard!" except... I used gemelli. You can use whatever twisty short pasta you like.
Pasta alla Crazy Bastard
adapted from Food and Wine
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound fusilli pasta (I used gemelli)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, rinsed and coarsely chopped, large stem pieces separated
Pinch of crushed red pepper
4 oz log soft goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the chard stems to the pan and cover for about a minute, as they will take longer to soften than the leaves. Add the roasted tomatoes, chard leaves and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, about 5 minutes. You may want to cover the pan to help things along.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.