Monday, April 15, 2013

nywff part chard ragu with white beans and tiny shell pasta

i learned to make this fantastic vegetarian dish at the new york wine and food festival, courtesy of chef mark ladner.  if i had seen this recipe in a cookbook  i honestly never would have tried it....i have had a tiny bit of chard on a lovely plate in a restaurant but never as the main attraction of a meal.  chard is so wonderful for you and is available give this recipe a is so hearty and yummy...i have made it at least 6 or 7 times is seriously delicious!!! chef ladner served this with home made orchiette pasta. which we also had to try and make... needless to say i am still a novice with the orchiette.....homemade orchiette is an art and unfortunately i am not an artist....i had a hard time finding boxed orchiette locally and have substituted mini shells.
rustic ragu
recipe after the jump

beans (if you don't want to bother with doing your own use two cans of white beans drained and ignore the bean cooking directions)
1/2  bag of dry white navy beans (soaked in cold water in fridge over night)
4 pepper corns
1 bay leaf

2 bunches swiss chard (green or rainbow)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups water or more
1 onion
4 carrots
1 garlic clove
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecorino romano grated
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 lb of extra small pasta shells

soak the beans over night in cold water cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.. when ready to start making the ragu drain the beans add to a heavy pot add enough water to cover the beans with about 2 inches of water above the beans. add the 4 whole peppercorns and the bay leaf. simmer for 90 minutes.
while the beans are cooking prepare the chard.  first soak the 2 bunches of chard in a clean sink or a very deep bowl. cut the stalks and the thick veins away from the leaves with scissors place in a separate colander or bowl.
the leaves
the stalks
chop the stalks and set beautiful
add the quarter cup of olive oil to a large le creuset pot heat on medium low heat add the chopped stalks.
stalks cooking 
stalks on the left beans on the right
while the stalks are cooking chop the leave..after washing them very well with running water
 add the leaves and let them wilt down add water a half cup at a time water...who knew?
i recall mario batali saying the italians cook the hell out of the veggies..that is what you are doing here

add the chunks of carrots onions and one clove of garlic...keep cooking keep adding water as the water begins to disappear almost like making risotto. add kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  simmer and keep adding water as needed.  meanwhile set the pasta water on the stove to boil.  get a spoon and remove the peppercorns and bay leaf from the beans.  drain the beans.  once the carrots are soft add the beans to the ragu and drop the mini shells into the boiling salted water and cook according to the box directions should be about 7 minutes.

add the beans to the ragu add the grated pecorino and the 2 tablespoons of butter and keep on low heat
once the pasta is done reserve a half cup of pasta water aside then add the pasta to the ragu when the pasta is ready add it to the ragu and let the flavors marry together on the low heat...add a little pasta water..salt and pepper to taste, drizzle of good olive oil and serve with pecorino YUM (you can fish out that lonely garlic clove or leave it an and make the person who gets it do the dishes)

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