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Swiss Chard Cacio e Pepe

Sometimes a simple pasta dish really hits the spot. I am always looking for ways to incorporate vegetables into dishes. Adding Swiss chard to this meal lightens it up a fair amount and makes it more of a balanced meal. It takes very little effort and tastes great. I find myself often quickly sautéing swiss chard or kale in olive oil, adding tons of salt and pepper and then finishing with Parmesan and butter. This is basically that, but improved with noodles : ) You could really use either green depending on your preference. Some might say this isn’t traditional Cacio e Pepe and I don’t really care, I like butter and I prefer parm to pecorino. Whatever you want to call it, its delicious.

What you need:

-About two cups Swiss chard washed thoroughly and sliced into thin ribbons

-1/2 lb of spaghetti or similar style noodle

-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more, whatever makes you happy :)

-2 tbsp good quality olive oil

-3 tbsp butter

-1 tsp freshly ground salt

-1 tbsp or more of fresh ground pepper

Wash and prepare your Swiss chard and set aside. Next boil; a pot of water and add your pasta to cook according to the package directions. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare your cheese, grate it, and set aside. When the pasta is cooking and has about 1 minute left, add in your Swiss chard and stir to combine. This will cook it just enough but allow it to remain bright. Drain your pasta and chard and then add it back to the pot. It’s good to keep a few spoonfuls of the pasta water to add starchy/creaminess to the dish but I have found that if you drain it hastily and pour it right back in without shaking the colander too much, enough liquid will remain. Stir in your butter, olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper. Give it a good toss and make sure everything is evenly distributed. If you like add more pepper and more parm to finish at the end. I like a lot of pepper. We had a tomato and burrata salad to round out the meal and it was perfect.

** I made this with gluten free corn and rice pasta for my gluten free husband and it was just as good as the gluten noodle version. I used Barilla gluten free fettucine : )

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