"Where have you been!" wrote several of you last week when it became apparent I wasn't posting. Well, my other life as a freelance writer became stressful what with deadlines and contract negotiations. I apologize. Next time I have a deadline looming, I'll be sure to have something ready to go!
This weekend, the hubby's Aunt A and Uncle S came over for dinner. Thankfully, Aunt A is an avid fan and one of the first to subscribe to my weekly emails (see subscription box to the right;). Sadly, all of that evening's experiments were disappointing flops. I'd seen a recipe for braised lamb's necks, which take 10 hours to cook and I thought wouldn't that make an impressive meal! On Friday, I reserved the necks at my new favorite butcher, Dickson's Farmstand at the Chelsea Market. Baby girl and I zipped down there on the condition that I buy her a cookie. However, when we arrived at Amy's Bread, she saw a pink cupcake and demanded that. Later on, after devouring the cupcake, she asked where her cookie was - what!
On Sunday, I woke up at 6am to pop the necks and the Boston Baked Beans (another disastrous dish I tried, but will try again until I solve that mystery) into the oven. The smells that came out of my oven were delightful, but the necks, even after 10 hours of braising, weren't as tender as they should've been and the beans? Yikes, let's just say Baby Girl put them in her mouth very eagerly and then started gagging and spitting them out onto her plate while wiping the bits off her tongue with her hands. Aunt A and Uncle S were very polite, but I'll have to have them back for another round. Luckily dinner was saved by my Best Ever Chocolate Pudding for dessert.
In retrospect, I wish I'd served this delightful pasta I made recently which takes only about 30 minutes and is so friggin' tasty. I'd read somewhere about boiling spaghetti in a mixture of red wine and water. One night, as I was rummaging through the fridge for something to eat, I decided to give it a go. Of course, I expected the spaghetti to turn red, but what I didn't expect was this tangy delightful flavor! Combined with the swiss chard, lemon and anchovy paste sauce, this dish turned out to be an incredible pleasure to make and to eat. If I weren't testing so many recipes to share with you, this would make it to the weekly rotation list. Enjoy!
Red Wine Spaghetti with Swiss Chard
(With the incredible selection of great, inexpensive red wines out there, I'd choose one of those for this dish. I don't think a particular type of red is required, but I used a pinot noir. However, in the spirit of the dish, feel free to use what you have on hand.)
What You'll Need:
5 cups Water
3/4 bottle of Red Wine
8 oz Spaghetti
1 cup Walnuts chopped
2 small Onions chopped
1 bunch Swiss Chard chopped (2-4 cups depending on how much you love the chard)
1 tbsp Anchovy Paste
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
Parmesan Cheese for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 350. (Or toaster oven if you have one.)
Poor the wine and water into a large pot. Salt generously. Place the pot over a high heat and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. About 12 minutes.
Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until brown. About 10 minutes.
While the water is getting up to temperature and the walnuts are toasting, place a pan over a medium high heat. Add a splash of olive oil. Once the oil starts shimmering, add the onions and cook until softened. Add the swiss chard and simmer.
Whisk the anchovy paste and lemon juice together and poor over the swiss chard mixture. Simmer.
Once the spaghetti is nearly done. Remove 1-2 cups of the pasta water and set aside. Strain the spaghetti and add to the swiss chard mixture. Add a cup of the past water and simmer until slightly thickened and a light sauce forms. Add more if need be. Remove from heat.
To serve, place a portion of the spaghetti and sauce on each plate. Top with a handful of walnuts and some grated parmesan cheese.
Approximate Dinner Cost:
Groceries: $16 depending on the wine you choose
Cost per Meal: 4 servings at $4 each.