The regrettably underused leafy vegetable Swiss chard makes an appearance here with apricots, currants, port, and pine nuts--altogether unexpected and delectable.
3 tablespoons pine nuts
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bunches green or red Swiss chard, large stems removed, leaves washed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup sliced dried apricots
1/4 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup port
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 pound fettuccine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 350°. Toast the pine nuts until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the Swiss chard and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Cook until the chard is wilted and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the apricots, currants, port, and cinnamon and simmer until the port is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce, Parmesan, pine nuts, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Variation: Fettuccine with Spinach and Dried Fruit: You can use spinach instead of the Swiss chard. Use 10 ounces of prewashed spinach or 1 1/2 pounds in bunches.
Wine Recommendation: A fruity white wine, such as a gewürtztraminer or chenin blanc from California, will nicely echo the combination of fruit and spice.
Quick From Scratch Pasta
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