Sometimes when I make dinner, it comes out not just close to what I imagined, but actually better! Tonight was one of those rare nights.
As usual the meal began a few days earlier, with the gathering of ingredients. On Wednesday I was going into Boston for a celebratory dinner with my good friend, Steve. En route I stopped at Donelan’s, my local supermarket, for a few items. The organic Swiss Chard looked fresh and tender, so I bought a bunch there.
Then in Boston, I stopped at Eataly before the dinner to get some of my favorite things there. I bought 6-7 baby artichokes, young enough to trim and cook whole; a 500 ml. bottle of Ligurian olive oil; a can of cherry tomatoes (pomodorini) on sale for $1.99; a small amount of fresh pasta — tagliolini — which was just enough for the two of us; and several of my favorite pecorino cheeses, including one from Calabria.
Tonight was my turn to cook, so I put it all together to make Tagliolini with Swiss Chard, Baby Artichokes, and Pomodorini. I made up the recipe as I went. Using 5 of my favorite stainless steel prep bowls, I proceeded as follows:
- wash the Swiss Chard very well, trim away the ribs, and slice leaves in 1″ strips
- finely mince one very large garlic clove
- dice one medium sized shallot
- dice a small piece of leftover leek
- open the tomato can and put the contents in a prep bowl
- trim the baby artichokes and cut them in half vertically
- start a full pasta pot with water to a boil
- using 2 Tbs. of the Ligurian olive oil, heat a nonstick skilled on medium heat
- add the garlic and cook a few minutes until just tender
- add the chopped Swiss Chard, plus a little water, cover and turn the heat to medium low, cooking until the chard is tender
- add 2 Tbs. olive oil to my sautéuse, and sauté the artichoke halves until lightly browned
- remove the artichokes to a bowl
- add more olive oil, and cook shallot-leek mixture for 5 minutes; add a little water if it is cooking too fast
- add some more water (2-3 Tbs.) along with the artichokes, and cook until tender; this is a braise, not pure sauté
- add the tagliolini to the pasta water, and cook for 3-4 minutes
- when the artichokes are tender, add all the tomatoes and sauce to the sauté pan
- after the tomato sauce has thickened a bit, add the pasta to the sauté pan, then add the chard; mix all together and place in a serving bowl from Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast
- top with grated Calabrian Pecorino, finish with more Ligurian olive oil
- serve with a 2014 Savuto, my favorite Calabrian wine
What I loved most was how the textures of each vegetable came through clearly in the final dish. Buon appetito!