Ah, fall, the ideal time of years for braises, soups and stews, and this week's recipe from Pete and Barb comes from the book Braises and Stews, by Tori Ritchie. "I gave my neighbor, Patty, a bunch of fresh onions from our garden, and we share a tomato garden, so she thought this recipe would be a great use of all the garden things we have available," says Barb. "Beans and greens are classically Italian and really freakin' good for you, too," she adds. Barb suggests serving the chard with polenta and a bottle of Ca'del Doge Chianti. It's a "lovely light-bodied red," she says, noting that it's available for $9.99 at Marczyk Fine Wines.
Braised Swiss chard with cannellini beans Serves 4-6
1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed, stems and center ribs trimmed (you can reserve these for use here or later) 1/4 cup olive oil 1 yellow onion, chopped 1 celery stalk, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
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1. Shake off excess water of leaves, and stack them on a cutting board. Cut lengthwise down the center, then slice thinly crosswise. Set aside. 2. In a wide sauté pan or 5- to 7-quart Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery and carrot (if using chard stems, add them now, too). 3. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes. 4. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tomatoes break down and sauce thickens a bit, about 10 minutes. 5. Stir in sliced chard leaves by the handful, letting each addition cook down a bit before adding the next. Stir in the beans. Cover pan and simmer until greens are very soft, about 10 minutes more. 6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.