Monday, May 21, 2012

Pan-Fried Spaghetti with Olives, Tomatoes, and Swiss Chard

I had a fabulous time at the Dixboro Farmers' Market's opening day this past Friday!  Vendors offered honey, both duck and chicken eggs, baked goods that disappeared so quickly I only got a sample of a pretzel despite arriving within the first hour, fresh greens, spring onions and potatoes, beeswax candles, organic nut butters, green garlic, and other lovely items.  Blessed by perfect sunny weather, crowds gathered, dogs greeted each other, people chatted and shopped, and a good time was had by all.

I bought Swiss chard with gorgeous, deep green leaves from Ferris Farm; I also bought organic green garlic from my friends Dick and Diana Dyer at Dick's Pretty Good Garlic stand.  Green garlic resembles scallions - long green stems, with a white bulb and stringy roots - and is young garlic harvested before cloves form; its flavor is milder than that of the mature form.  The Dyers have always sold their prized supply to restaurants, so to find them with several bunches was a surprise and a treat!  This would be the only week the treasure would be available, so I pounced.

After schmoozing, shopping, and sunburning a bit, I took my prizes home.  Needless to say, I put the bounty to use in my dinner that evening.

I took some cold spaghetti out of the refrigerator.  This could have been baked into a casserole; it could also have been rejuvenated with boiling water, which would make it a bit too soft for my liking, and served with a standard boring ol' sauce.  Instead, I turned it into a lovely, sophisticated dish.

Pan-frying the spaghetti slightly caramelizes the starches, and gives the pasta a wonderful toasted flavor.  Combining it with red pepper flakes, Kalamata olives, the beautiful Swiss chard, a sweet tomato, and the cherished green garlic transformed this basic leftover into a delicious meal to celebrate the end of the week.  A lovely glass of white wine was the perfect accompaniment.

The new market was wonderful, and it's off to an amazingly successful start!  I met old friends and new ones, and am looking so forward to this week's adventure, and the goodies I'll bring home to cook with next weekend.

Pan-Fried Spaghetti with Olives, Tomatoes, and Swiss Chard

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 stalks green garlic, chopped (or 2 large garlic cloves, minced)
3 cups pre-cooked whole wheat spaghetti, chilled, cut into 2" lengths
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 large leaves Swiss chard, cut into 3" strips
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Melt the oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the mixture just starts to bubble, add red pepper flakes, garlic, spaghetti, salt and pepper; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chard, olives and tomato; cook for 1 minute.

Divide among 2 serving plates and sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 2 generously.


Jenn said...

My mom made fried spaghetti all the time when we were growing up! She just used garlic and butter though.. this is a way fancier way of doing it. Tastier too, I'm sure!!

Debra said...

Oh my goodness, this looks delicious. I am going to have to make this! I have never thought about pan frying spaghetti, it looks like I have been missing out!

Cranberry Morning said...

Okay, true confession here Mary, I know you made this just for me! lol LOVE IT.

Candace said...

I had fried spaghetti at a rehearsal dinner for my best friend's wedding many years ago. They had a pasta station that you got to choose your pasta and then the ingredients to go in it and they fried it all up to order. I fell in love with it then and there. This is my favorite kind of pasta, Mary! Simple ingredients pack so much flavor. Who needs a sauce?!

Debra Kapellakis said...

That looks and sounds very yummy!

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