Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Goat cheese, pesto and swiss chard pasta

Hope everyone had a great Memorial day weekend. Mine was great, at the beach with friends, great food, a lot of sand and water. I really did not want it to end. It did end though only to make me realize this was only the beginning, the beginning of summer, my most favorite time of the year! Having grown up in Bombay, heat is only second nature to me and I don't mind it in the very least. In fact I quite love it. 

Also another thing I love about summer is the fresh produce. This year we signed up for the summer CSA with Coon Rock Farms, which started a few weeks back. Coon Rock is a local farm an hour away from Raleigh, NC. Theirs is a great story which started with the owners walking away from highly successful careers to work on a farm. For the six years that this farm has been in existence, its grown into a completely self sustained farm which produces the best tasting vegetables, eggs and meat.To more read about their amazing story, check this great write-up NY Times did on them.  When you do what you like best, it makes a huge difference. With Coon Rock, it shows in the excellent produce. 

The CSA box is a true indication of the seasons. For the last weeks, it has been mostly cooler weather greens and lettuces. It has also consistently featured one of my favorite vegetables, chard. Either swiss or rainbow varieties. I have been putting the chard to good use and now have enough recipes for a chard 1-2-3, which I am about to embark on! The first recipe in this series is a pasta in a pesto and goat cheese based sauce enveloping some sauteed chard. I also added some pistachios for a little crunch and also because I think anything can be made better by adding pistachios! The creamy pesto sauce works perfectly with the pistachios and chard to make a healthy, tasty and quick one dish meal. I am going to send this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.


2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup or more goat cheese
3 tablespoons pesto
half a bunch of chard, swiss or rainbow, cut into ribbons
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan 

- Boil pasta according to directions till cooked, drain and set aside. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.
- In a bowl, mix together the goat cheese and pesto. Add in a couple of tablespoons of the hot pasta cooking water to make a sauce. Add salt/pepper to taste.
- In a separate pan saute chard with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook covered with a little water till tender. Season with white wine if using.
- Combine pasta and chard with the pesto sauce, adding pistachios and topping with some shredded parmesan. Serve warm.

Makes 4 main servings.


  1. What an absolutely beautiful photo. I love eating local, seasonal foods. They just taste some much better. Thanks so much for sharing this one with Presto Pasta Nights. I do hope to see many more of your tasty treats in the weeks to come.

  2. This pasta looks like some serious comfort food. I love the pistachios with the pesto. I actually make a pesto with pistachios and basil instead of pine's so good. I would love a good bowl of this. Yay for joining a CSA! I really wanted to this year but all of the ones near me were sold out! I'll be sure to get on a list nice and early next time around.

  3. This looks great Rady. Can't wait to taste some of this yummy stuff in a few weeks!