We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: A meatless meal -- easily made vegan -- that'll be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
It's easy to be intimidated by the Italian names of these two dishes. After all, Spaghetti alla Foriana and Swiss Chard Agrodolce sound more suited to the menu of an Italian trattoria than to today's grocery list. Thankfully, it's harder to pronounce the names of these two foods than it is to make them.
Follow a simple plan and in less than 30 minutes, you'll be eating like you're on the coast of Italy. The pasta and the Swiss chard both take advantage of the eternally-delicious contrast of sweet and savory, a bittersweet combination that reminds us of our general attitude toward Mondays.
Serves 4, with extra Foriana sauce
1 bunch swiss chard
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese (leave it out to make dinner vegan!)
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pine nuts (plus a few more tablespoons, for garnish)
3/4 pound spaghettini
1/2 cup white or golden raisins
1/4 cup vegetable stock (substitute this for the chicken stock)
1/4 cup white wine
We're assuming that your pantry is stocked with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, oregano, white wine vinegar, and honey. If not, add them to the list as well!
1. Make the pasta sauce. Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped and then add the oregano and pulse once more. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the nut mixture and the raisins. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. While the sauce is cooling, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. This will be for your pasta. As the water heats, sauté your swiss chard stems with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Now that you've got the chard cooking, add the spaghettini to the boiling water and set a timer for 12 minutes.
3. Check on the chard stems. When they're soft -- after 6 or 8 minutes -- add the vegetable stock and wine and allow the liquids to reduce for about 5 minutes. Then add the swiss chard leaves. At this point, your pasta should be just about ready. Drain it while it's still al dente.
4. Return to your sauté pan. Once the liquid is mostly evaporated and the swiss chard is tender, add the vinegar and two tablespoons of honey. If you've got any extra pine nuts, sprinkle them on top of the chard for added crunch (even better if you can toast them for a few minutes beforehand!).
5. Transfer the still-warm pasta to a bowl and toss with a cup of the sauce. Shower the pasta with grated pecorino and check for seasoning. Serve the pasta alongside your sautéed greens for a sophisticated, sweet-and-salty Italian supper.
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