Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lemon Spaghetti with Swiss Chard

I don't live in a warm place like California or Florida or Arizona (or the Amalfi coast-sigh), where people are lucky enough to pluck fresh lemons from backyard trees. I have to rely on the supermarket variety. But with a box of pasta and organic lemons from a high quality grocery store, you can still serve a flavorful and easy-to-make pasta dish that will earn you raves. Add some Swiss chard to the mix and you'll also garner a few kudos for the extra nutrition factor.
In support of the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative (PSGC), a wonderful group that fosters garden and food-based education in our local schools and community, I'm posting this recipe with chard for their "Garden State on Your Plate" program. Chard will debut in chef-led tastings at the Princeton elementary schools this fall, with more farm products to follow. PSGC has its own website (, Facebook page (, Twitter ( and Instagram account (psgcoop), so hop on over and cheer them on.
But don't forget to give this recipe a try. It comes together in practically the time it takes to boil pasta, and the fresh flavors will have you and your family asking for seconds. Maybe even planning a trip to Sorrento!
Lemon Spaghetti with Swiss Chard
printable recipe here

1/4 cup minced sweet onion (like Vidalia)
6 - 10 large Swiss chard leaves, roughly chopped
2 T. olive oil
salt, pepper

grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pound spaghetti or linguini
1 1/2 cups - 2 cups of pasta water
more parmesan cheese for serving
fresh basil, optional

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until limp, then add the Swiss chard and sauté for a few minutes until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Grate the zest of three lemons and squeeze the juice from them, discarding the seeds.
Bring the water to boil in a large pot and add a generous amount of salt. Cook the pasta al dente, especially since you'll add it back into the pot for a few minutes with the sauce. Drain the pasta, but reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water.
Set aside the pasta while you make the sauce.
It takes only a few minutes so don't worry about the pasta getting cold.
Use the same pot in which you boiled the pasta and put in the lemon zest, olive oil, heavy cream and about 1 cup of the pasta water. Bring to a boil over high heat, add the pasta to the pot and lower the heat to medium, all the while stirring everything together. Add the lemon juice, the parmesan cheese, and the cooked Swiss chard and stir vigorously. Keep adding more pasta water until there is enough sauce. Some people like the sauce to be very loose, so if you're one of them, add more of the pasta water and keep stirring. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with additional parmesan cheese. If you have fresh basil, add a generous sprinkling of that at the end too.
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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Simple, yet refined and extremely scrumptious!



daniela64 said...

Che bella ricetta , voglio assolutamente provarla. Un abbraccio, Daniela.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

What a nice simple recipe. I could eat this three times a week!

Chiara Giglio said...

amo il limone , aggiunge un tocco particolare a tutti i piatti, un abbraccio linda !

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

A wonderful way to eat Swiss Chard and pasta! I wish I also wish I could grow a lemon tree ....sigh

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

So simple but full of flavor! I love Swiss chard too.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

This is a must try for me, Linda. I love pasta but don't love it smothered in a heavy tomato sauce. This light, lemony cream sauce sounds perfect.

donna bailey said...

Love this recipe, sounds easy and looks bloody delicious. I'll give it a try for sure. Thanks for sharing!
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Frank Fariello said...

This is food just the way I like it, simple but gorgeous. I'd dig right in...

Claudia said...

Six months low-carb and now you have tempted me with this. I always wanted a lemon tree. In fact, was tempted when I saw one two years ago - a miniature one. Then my plant-bathology-biology son explained the care of it in MN (one of his professors had one) so out went that idea. But the love of lemon and pasta continues - especially with this recipe.