Monday, March 23, 2009

Potato gnocchi with Swiss chard and garlic

Tonight's dinner came from Jeanne Lemlin's book Simple Vegetarian Pleasures, a great cookbook filled with flexible, easy, flavorful recipes. Lemlin's detailed recipes are clear and easy to follow, and she provides helpful notes with each recipe, giving ingredient substitutions and serving tips. She also includes sections with time-saving tips (what to buy fresh, what can be bought frozen) and explains the ins and outs of some of her more exotic ingredients (such as Tamari vs. regular soy sauce, just what to do with tofu and what is tempeh?). This is a vegetarian cookbook for vegetarians, nonvegetarians, for the veg-curious and for bi-vourous households (many of the recipes can be tossed with grilled chicken or shrimp to satisfy meat eaters so busy cooks don't have to make two meals). Good recipes for kids, too. This is my favorite of Lemlin's cookbooks; it's definitely not vegan, though -- there's lots and lots of cheese.

Anyway, here's the recipe for this satisfying and colorful 10-minute dinner, which I made with the chard I picked up this weekend from Greener Visions Farms.

Potato gnocchi with Swiss chard and garlic
1 pound Swiss chard (weight with stems)
3 tbs olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound frozen potato gnocchi (I used dried)
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, chop the stems off the chard. Rinse the stems under cold running water to rid them of any sand. Chop them into 1/2-inch pieces and set them aside. Wash the greens by dunking them in a large bowl of cold water. Remove the leaves, then dump out the water. Repeat until there is no sandy sediment in the water. Drain the greens. Gather the leaves into bunches and slice them into 1/2-inch wide strips.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Add the chard stems and leaves with just the water that clings to them. Toss with the garlic, then cover the pan. Cook, tossing occasionally, just until the chard is wilteed, about 3 miutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water. Cook according to the package directions, probably about 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then mix into the chard. Sprinkle on the cheese, toss, and serve.

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