Whole Wheat Rotelle with Swiss Chard & Sausage

Photo and Recipe by Tod Dimmick

The last of the season’s tomato & spicy basil marry perfectly with earthy chard.  Omit the sausage for a vegetarian dish.  I suggest rotelle or another similarly shaped pasta because when cooked the noodles balance the shape and size of the other ingredients. 

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  20 minutes
Serves:  4-6

INGREDIENTS
1 lb sweet Italian sausage meat
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, stems separated from leaves and both coarsely chopped
1 medium size tomato, 1/2 inch dice
2 cups fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 lb whole wheat rotelle, or your favorite pasta shape
Shredded Parmesan
Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS
Heat the water for the pasta.

While water is heating, cook the sausage meat with the garlic, the jalapeno (if using), and the thyme in a large skillet or saute pan, stirring, for 3 minutes.  If sausage is lean (like Powisset sausage!) add a little olive oil to facilitate cooking.  Add the chard stems and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the sausage is done.  Add the chard leaves and the tomato, cover, and cook for 2 minutes or until the leaves are wilted.  Remove from heat.

Cook the pasta to your liking, drain, and return to the cooking pot.  Scrape the chard mixture onto the pasta, along with the basil, and toss.  Serve right from the pot (if it’s a weeknight) or transfer to an elegant serving dish (weekend).  Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

WINE
Weeknight :  A good Chianti.  Weekend :  Rosso di Montacino.  Special Occasion:  Brunello di Montalcino.

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