Thursday, April 18, 2013

Whole Wheat Pasta with Chard and Goat Cheese

I have a small vegetable garden. I mostly plant warm season crops such as tomatoes, cucumber, okra, pepper etc, but I also have some cool season crops such as lettuce, rainbow chard, garlic and beets. I love chard. It is a very nutritious and versatile green. I add it to curries, soups, daals parathas etc. The rainbow chard gets its name from the different colors of stocks it has. They look very beautiful in the garden, and ofcouse on the plate too.

I had planted chard in the garden last year, and harvest the leaves. I didn't dig out the root, which means it regrew this year. By the first week of the April, I already had 5-6 bunches of chard ready to be harvest. Fresh, organic and colorful chard, right from the garden. It can't get better then this.

I had some goat cheese in the fridge so, I thought of combining the two things (goat cheese and chard)I like and make a healthy and filling dish. That is when I thought of making whole wheat pasta. Even my toddler loved this dish. I will surely be making this again.

2 Cups Whole Wheat Pasta Shells, (I used penne)
2 Stocks of Celery, Chopped,
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas,
1 bunch (6-7 big leaves) chard with stocks,
3 Nos. Multicolored Mini Sweet Peppers (Optional), Thinly Sliced
1/4 Cup Kidney Beans (or 1/2 Cups Canned) ,
1/4 cup Garbanzo Beans (or 1/2 Cups Canned)
3/4 to 1 Cup Goat Cheese, Divided into Small Chunks
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Onion, Chopped
a Pinch, Crushed Red Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped,
Water as required,
Salt per taste
1 Teaspoon, Italian Seasoning

If you are using canned beans skip this paragraph and start with the next one. Soak the dried beans in 1 cup of water for minimum 6 hours or over night. Then ext day, pressure cook the beans in very little amont of water for 3 whistles. If you don't have a pressure cooker, then boil the beans in pleny of water until tender.

In a deep pan, take enough water to boil the pasta and add salt to it. Let the water come to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for the time given on the package.

In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop the chard leaves. Finley chop the stalks.Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions, celery and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion turns translucent  Now add the chard and stocks, sweet peppers, peas, crushed red pepper and the beans. Add any other veggie you might be using at this time. Cook for 30-40 seconds, just until the chard starts wilting. The greens will have more chance to get cooked in the oven.

Drain the pasta and add to the vegetable mixture. Add the goat cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese to the mixture. Add the Italian seasoning and stir to mix well. Transfer to an oven safe dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes.

Take out of the oven and serve hot.

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