Diane Conners of the Michigan Land Use Institute shared today’s recipe, which fits right in with the main story on this page. It uses Swiss chard, an early season green similar to spinach. She makes it regularly and attests to its goodness. The whole wheat spaghetti is not only a healthier choice, she added, but its robust flavor pairs well with the cherries and greens. She suggested that meat eaters might like the addition of broiled chicken or slivers of beef. The recipe is modified from an original in “A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen” by Jack Bishop.
Spaghetti with Dried Cherries, Chard and Walnuts
¼ c. finely chopped walnuts
¼ c. olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
10 c. chard, stems and thick center ribs discarded, leaves washed, shaken to remove excess water and chopped
½ c. dried cherries
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
Goat cheese, optional
Prepare spaghetti according to package directions, reserving ¾ c. of the pasta cooking liquid.
Place the walnuts in a large pan over medium heat. Toast for 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally so the nuts don’t burn. Transfer the nuts to a plate and set aside.
Add the oil and garlic to the empty pan and cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add the damp chard, stir to coat the leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the chard has wilted. Stir in the cherries, remove the pan from the heat. Cover to keep warm.
Toss together the pasta, chard and toasted walnuts. Add some of the cooking liquid as needed to moisten the pasta.
Top with dollops of goat cheese if desired.