Thursday, July 8, 2010

ravioli with swiss chard, sugar snap peas and garlic chips/radish salad sandwich

ravioli with chard, sugar snap peas and fried garlic chips

So last Monday night when Nathan left for vacation in Italy, I decided to cook up some Borgatti ravioli. I had had a box in the freezer since I was last up on Arthur Ave the last weekend of April, but I was waiting for a special occasion to break it out. I guess I was feeling like if I couldn't go back to Italy, I could at least eat the best ravioli this side of Atlantic. The time was right. (Appropriately, Nathan actually gets back TODAY, and I am so excited!!!)

As I was leaving work, I stumbled across this recipe for spaghetti with swiss chard, olives and garlic chips. I had seen it before, but it hadn't particularly struck me at the time. However, with a bag full of chard slowly wilting back at home, it suddenly seemed much more appealing. So, when I got home, I dug into a fridge full of vegetables and used that recipe as a jumping off point for my dinner.

Obviously, I switched the pasta from spaghetti to ravioli, but other than that I followed the recipe fairly closely, with one notable exception. I've never really liked olives. Lately, I've been coming around on them somewhat, but I still usually avoid them. I definitely don't keep them in the house, and I didn't go out shopping, so they got axed from the recipe.

I sliced the garlic into thin chips and fried it in hot olive oil until golden brown. I removed the garlic from the pan, and added a diced shallot, which I cooked until soft. Then I added a pint of shelled sugar snap peas, (after almost five days in the fridge, the pods were truly sad looking), and then the chopped leaves of a bunch of chard. (I reserved the stems for use in a dish Nathan likes to call chard surprise, but I'll be saving that for another post.) Meanwhile, I boiled my ravioli in a pot of salted water until it floated. Once the chard was wilted and the pasta drained, I tossed it all together and added back in the garlic chips. Yummy!

ravioli with veggies and open faced salad sandwich

I also had some old Italian bread in the fridge, the end of a head of food co-op lettuce, not to mention that never ending bag of radishes. I toasted the bread with some butter so it would taste less stale, and then just topped it with thinly sliced radish, the red leaf lettuce, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. It wasn't as extraordinary as my last radish sandwich, but it was quick and easy and helped me use up some of the food I have in the fridge. (If you too have a surfeit of radishes, you can simplify this even further and just eat them sliced with butter, salt and pepper. That's how I finally finished mine off.)

radish and red leaf lettuce salad on Italian bread

So that was that. Dinner without my boy. Inclusion of peas aside, I think he would have liked it. That being said, for those of you keeping track this type of dinner is getting to be bit of a standard in my kitchen. Olive oil, garlic, onion, cooked greens, an extra veggie and some pasta... It's getting a bit formulaic, and I'm wary of falling into a rut. That being said, when there are so many greens to use up, there's only so much you can do with them. If anyone has any especially interesting suggestions, please pass them along!

What I did particularly like about this recipe that made it stand out from the pack was the crispy fried garlic slices. If you too are intrigued by the idea of garlic chips, I also happened upon this post which a couple of other interesting ideas for crunchy fried garnishes. I use a lot of browned garlic in my cooking, but it's generally more finely chopped and serves more as additional flavoring than as stand alone element of a dish. I'm intrigued by exploring this idea of crispy little garnishes and what not. In my first post of the year, I mentioned a dinner that Nathan and I made that included blue steak, creamed spinach and a poached egg with crispy onions. This we did accidentally, but I ended up really liking it. This other blogger's post has got me thinking that there could really be something to this flavorful crispy thing!

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