>> Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Lately I’ve noticed a huge surge of gluten-free products and advertisements. They’re all over the supermarket shelves, highlighted in big bold letters. I even started to notice that a lot of the coffee shops are carrying gluten free desserts and treats. This is all great for people who are allergic to gluten of course. I have friends who have celiac disease and are severely affected by anything with gluten in it. They’ve always had to avoid desserts, pastas or anything with wheat, barley and rye. So I’m extremely excited that they have those options now.
Sometimes I forget how lucky I am, to be able to enjoy all different types of foods because I don’t have any food allergies. I’m able to satisfy my cravings and not have to worry about the consequences later (except maybe needing to spend a bit more time at the gym afterwards, I kid). Every so often I get big cravings for pasta and I almost always succumb to it. Knowing that I don’t have to worry about the consequences after, makes me savour every bite that much more.
I wasn’t looking for anything heavy, but more so lighter while yet still providing a bit of a flavour punch. I didn’t have to look further than the swiss chard that was hanging out in my refrigerator.
Nutritional Tidbit: Swiss chard comes in numerous different colors, the most common being red and green. Often you’ll see yellow chard during the peak of its season. Belonging to the same family as the beets and spinach, the chard rates among one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. It is mostly used in the Meditteranean but is starting to gain recognition here in North America. Due to its multicolored stems, the chard is known to provide many different phytonutrients, which are nutrients found only in plants. Phytonutrients have been found to contain disease fighting compounds and boost the immune system. Chard also provides many different types of vitamins and minerals and regulate blood sugar!
This recipe didn’t take long to pull together and I found the roasted red peppers added to the sweetness of the chard. You can always change it up and add different spices to make it your own. Also, I recommend throwing in additional vegetables or protein like chicken. The best part was it allowed me to enjoy the pasta amongst healthy and nutritious ingredients.
1 1/2 fusilli pasta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb swiss chard, cut to 1 inch strips
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 roasted red pepper, cut to 1 inch pieces
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp rosemary, can be substituted by 1/4 tsp dried
1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tbsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper
In a medium stock pot, boil the pasta with some salt and olive oil until al dente. Roughly 10 mins.
In a sauce pan, heat a tbsp spoon of oil (canola, olive or other) over medium to high heat. Add in onions and garlic and cook for 2 mins.
Add in the swiss chard stems and half of the chicken stock (and dried rosemary if using, wait if using fresh). Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Add in the remaining leafy portions of the chard and the rest of the chicken stock. Allow it to simmer for another 2-3 mins.
Mix in the pre cut roasted red peppers, fresh rosemary and chili flakes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Once everything is combined, in a small dish, mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and pour in to the pan.
Allow the cornstarch to thicken up the sauce before removing from the heat. The cornstarch will need to be thoroughly cooked or else it will taste chalky.
Mix pasta in with the sauce and serve. Enjoy!