Summer is THE best time to cook in my mind – the markets are full of fresh produce, half the time you don’t even need to turn on an oven to make a wonderful meal but it’s also a really really busy time of year. All the fun and running out of town every weekend has left my kitchen feeling neglected (with the exception of my coffee pot). But it was high time to get back on the horse and for some reason, perhaps it’s been all the rainy days, I’ve been craving pasta. Like, loads and loads of linguine. I have a tiny bit of self-restraint so instead of making Bolognese and kissing the dreams of fitting into a bathing suit sometime in the near future goodbye, I opted for a rather healthy pasta salad to share at a lovely picnic with friends.
1 lb. whole wheat rotini pasta
1 bushel Swiss Chard, cleaned and sliced thinly
5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
5 oz. goat cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Good olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar
Prepare the pasta and set aside to cool in a large bowl. While it’s still warm toss the pasta with a touch of olive oil and S&P. Toast the nuts until fragrant and lightly browned in a dry sauté pan over medium high heat and set aside to cool. In a large sauté pan heat the sliced garlic in olive oil until fragrant – add in the sliced Swiss chard and cook until just starting to wilt. Combine all ingredients in the large bowl with the pasta and mix well. Add in about 3T of olive oil to coat. Taste and season the pasta with S&P, zest and juice of the lemon and a touch of balsamic vinegar for a little zing. Once the pasta salad is cool add the raisins and goat cheese in haphazard chunks. Serve slightly chilled or room temp.And if you happen to have some extra Swiss chard on hand…go Greek with it and try this delicious Tzatziki-esque Martha Stewart recipe – I served it with herbed pita bread – so tasty and refreshing!