Pasta with Swiss Chard Pesto

Pasta with Swiss Chard Pesto

Crème fraîche adds tangy smoothness to hearty pesto.
serves 4

5 large leaves Swiss chard, center stems removed
3 Tbsp. sliced toasted almonds
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup mild olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. crème fraîche
Pinch of Aleppo pepper (or cayenne to taste)
1/2 lb. dried pasta such as Mafaldine or Lasagnette or other ruffled shape like farfalle
Grated Pecorino Romano, toasted almonds for serving

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the chard leaves briefly to chop. Add almonds, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice; process until the pesto is smooth and velvety, about
2–3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

In a bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons crème fraîche; add a pinch of Aleppo or cayenne pepper to create just a spark of heat. Cook pasta according to directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of hot cooking water. Return pasta to pot and, over low heat, toss with the pesto-crème fraîche mixture, adding a bit of cooking liquid (and another tablespoon of pesto if needed) to make a sauce. You want a generous coating of pesto on the pasta. Divide pasta among 4 serving bowls and top each with a generous shower of Pecorino and some toasted almonds.

Recently Joy acted on a persistent daydream by converting part of her backyard into a garden for berries and a second garden to build up the soil for vegetables. When she isn’t tending these new gardens, she dabbles in food styling and design for Edible Ohio Valley and volunteers on a local farm.