Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cheesy Moving Blues: Spaghetti with Chards, Prosciutto and Roquefort Cheese

The lack of recent updates can be attributed to the activity of moving into a new place - a somewhat tedious chore that has taken well over two weeks and have driven both me and the boyfriend nuts. We've moved out to the edge of the city, not quite the burbs, but on the edge no less where a lawn mower wakes us up on Saturdays and the bus drops off a bunchload of yelling kids down the road, much to the chagrin of my dog who goes off at the slightest sound.

The one good thing about moving farther away from the center of downtown though is that rent is a tiny bit cheaper and I can now afford a CSA box. The box we get from New Roots Organics is massive even though we only signed up for a personal bin meant for a one person household. This week we got a whole bunch of chards, carrots, lettuce and mustard greens and a few asparagus spears, apples, oranges, pears, red peppers and zucchinis.

The other good thing about living farther away from everything that matters is that we make "stock-up" trips so that we don't have to go to the grocery store every now and then. Enter Costco. I've always found their cheese and wine selection to be top-notch. But over the weekend, I must have had dry-heaves about 18 times looking at a 12oz wedge of Papillon Black Label Roquefort that was selling for $13.99. That's right, $13.99. It can cost almost three times the price at a gourmet cheese store, and is one of the reasons I hardly ever eat Roquefort except when we're at a fancy French restaurant.

The combination of chards from my CSA box and finding the Roquefort for cheap leads me to perhaps what is one of my all-time favourite ways to make pasta. You have to ensure that you use really good quality ingredients so that all the flavours meld together to create a wonderfully savoury dish. Everything from the pasta to the cheese down to the lemons you use have to be the best you can afford, otherwise you might just dismiss this as a bland affair. If you can't find/afford Roquefort, a good grade Italian Gorgonzola would also work well. Enjoy with a light white wine such as Semillon or Riesling so that it doesn't overwhelm the flavour of the cheese.
Spaghetti with Chards, Prosciutto and Roquefort Cheese
Makes 2 servings

4 oz good quality whole wheat spaghetti
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rainbow or swiss chards, chopped and stem removed
4 slices prosciutto, sliced in thin strips
1/2 cup good quality Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoon toasted pine nuts, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat a saute pan with 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil. Add in the minced garlic and saute gently over medium-low heat for 1 minute until it starts to turn slightly golden. Add in the chards and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute for another 3 minutes until the chards are wilted. Turn off the heat.

Stir in the grated lemon zest, sliced prosciutto and roquefort cheese. Add in the cooked pasta and toss to combine. The residual heat from the chards will melt the roquefort slightly. If the pasta seems to dry, you can add in a little bit of the reserved pasta water.

Add in the freshly ground black pepper to taste and serve the pasta topped with a slight scatter of toasted pine nuts.


Kirby! said...

That chard looks gorgeous! And what better way to use it than on a perfect, elegant pasta meal?

I feel you when it comes to moving. Moving makes me want to END MY LIFE, and somehow I still end up doing it every year. I'm hoping that 2009 will be the year that I stay in my apartment for longer than 12 months...

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you! Moving is such hell.

And wha? Costco and top-notch cheese? I must check it out.

Wafna said...

Well sort of related. . .Erik wants lasagna for Easter dinner and I can't find my wonderful recipe. Do you have a favorite??

Anonymous said...

Mmm, chard. It's so good on pasta. Your dish looks pretty.