Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taste the Rainbow: Rainbow Chard

Yesterday I was in for a tasty surprise when a good friend from work brought me some rainbow chard from her garden. I have a confession: I had never actually seen rainbow chard before. I thought the pink stems poking out from her bag were rhubarb. Jennifer explained that rainbow chard tastes the same as the standard Swiss variety and it keeps its bright color when cooked! I wholeheartedly believe 'the more color on your plate, the better' so you can imagine how these hot pink stems got me all excited!
What better time to taste the rainbow then today for lunch? Since I was at my boyfriend's place, my ingredient selection was slim pickins. I managed to find some orzo pasta I had left there a couple weeks back, a few cloves of garlic courtesy of Chris's roommate's vegan girlfriend (thanks Denise!) and bacon. Boys always seem to have bacon. Two things that I was definitely missing? Olive oil and pepper. Who doesn't have olive oil or pepper? Not to worry, a little ingenuity can go a long way in the kitchen!

Rainbow Chard and Bacon with Buttered Orzo
pinch of salt
one bunch rainbow chard (about 5-7 large leaves)
two strips of uncured hickory bacon
1/2 cup orzo pasta
two large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1. Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo. Cook for 9 minutes.
2. Place two strips of bacon on an ungreased pan and cook over medium heat, turning frequently. About 7-8 minutes.
3. While orzo and bacon cooks, thoroughly wash the chard and chop the stems off. Slice the leaves into thin strips.
4. Once bacon in cooked through (should be slightly cripsy, not burnt), remove from pan and place between two paper towels.
5. Place the pink stems in the pan and sauté in the bacon grease.
6. Finely chop two garlic cloves and add to the pan.
7. Add sliced chard leaves to the pan and let wilt till soft. Add bacon to crisp.
8. When orzo is cooked, drain thoroughly and add to the pan, stirring for a few more minutes so the pasta can absorb some of the flavors.
9. Transfer to plates and garnish with parmesan cheese.

*I don't have a picture of the final product because I'm a fattie at heart and ate it before it occured to me. Sorry boutcha.

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