Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto!

Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Pasta, that easy to prepare mid-week meal, or a weekend indulgence with wine and maybe half an acre of garlic bread – it comes in many guises and it’s astonishing to think that we only really embraced this “foreign” ingredient about forty to forty-five years ago.  Many an Italian wine bar during the 1960’s made its fortune from bowls of spaghetti Bolognese with a bottle of Chianti – and after the wine was finished, the straw clad bottle became an iconic candle holder! And, do you remember the Great Spaghetti Harvest spoof? It was before I was born, but I have seen the film footage many times – it was an April Fools Day prank as broadcast by BBC’s Panorama programme  in 1957, and remains the BIGGEST spoofs in television history! The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest…….It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry, and my parents told me that it fooled thousands of viewers! You can still see the programme on YouTube here: Panorama – April Fool’s Day Hoax – Spaghetti Harvest – 1st April 1957

Spaghetti Harvest - April Fools Day 1957

Spaghetti Harvest – April Fools Day 1957

It was probably easy to fool a post-war Britain, where pasta was almost unheard of and “meat with two veg” was the most popular fare, as served at the British supper table; it is a wonderful reminder of a simpler and more innocent time, where olive oil was bought at Boots the Chemist and tea,  not wine, was drunk with dinner or supper! I remember going to school in the 1970′ and telling my friends that mum had cooked “Lasagne” for tea, a dish that had never been heard of at that time in deepest Cornwall; it appeared that my mum was very “risque” and right up to current food trends even then, and I had to give my friends a blow-by-blow account of what it consisted of, and how she made it! (All that pre-cooking of huge sheets of pasta, no pre-cooked lasagne sheets in those days) The next trend to hit British shores was Pesto – and I remember the first meal where Pesto Pasta was on the menu, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I tasted it! It was in a little Café Bistro in Hereford, not a Chianti bottle in sight, and a HUGE plain white bowl appeared with home-made pasta with the most divine sauce I had ever tasted…….needless to say I was a convert.

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

The classic Genovese pesto is made with blanched basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses as well as the ubiquitous garlic. Pesto comes in all guises now, there’s sun-dried tomato pesto,  mint pesto, as well as a Calabrian pesto made with bell peppers and lots of black pepper. The name “pesto” means to pound or crush in the local Genoese dialect, and has been adopted as a generic name for all types of this style sauce nowadays. My pesto has NO herbs in it at all and it is a veritable vegetable delight! It tastes divine, take my word for it, and makes good use of that “veg box” favourite, Swiss chard. I used my own home-grown walnuts for the “nut element” and a mixture of Grana Padano and Parmesan cheese. I added a good swig of extra virgin olive oil and a goodly amount of fresh garlic and I was very pleased with the results. I served this with some “squid ink” pasta, and some extra pan-fried chard for a delightful luncheon dish the other day.

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

As this pasta meal was made with my home-made pesto, I am entering it in to Jac’s Pasta Please challenge which this month is being hosted by Jen and where the theme is……….Home-made PestoI plan to make this pesto again, as it was truly delicious and I added the rest to a vegetable soup the next day, which worked brilliantly. If squid ink pasta is not your thing, then of course you can use this Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto with any pasta of your choice, and I am planning to use it as the sauce on home-made pizza next time I make one……with some prawns or calamari maybe. That’s all for now, see you later with a new fish recipe, and some classic baking recipes too. Not long to the weekend now, and don’t forget that it’s Easter next week – it’s very early this  year. I hope you enjoy this pesto sauce if you make it, bye for now, Karen

Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto

Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto

Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto

Serves 12 servings
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentines day
Region Italian
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
A delectable and easy pesto sauce made with the "Veg Box" seasonal favourite, Swiss Chard! This pesto sauce makes great use of Swiss chard and is a great way to get the family to eat "hidden" greens and vegetables! Mix with freshly cooked pasta, use as a marinade or rub for meat, poultry and fish; also great as a pizza sauce.

Ingredients

  • 25g butter
  • bunch of Swiss chard (about 250g to 300g)
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 50g walnuts (toasted)
  • 100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Grana Padano cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

Note

A delectable and easy pesto sauce made with the "Veg Box" seasonal favourite, Swiss Chard! This pesto sauce makes great use of Swiss chard and is a great way to get the family to eat "hidden" greens and vegetables! Mix with freshly cooked pasta, use as a marinade or rub for meat, poultry and fish; also great as a pizza sauce.

Directions

Step 1 Wash the chard thoroughly and trim the ends off the white stalks. Chop the chard roughly, separating the green leaves from the white stalks.
Step 2 Melt the butter in a large saucepan (with lid) and add the garlic and white chard stalks, then replace the lid and sweat over a medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. After 5 to 6 minutes, add the (green) chard leaves and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, until the chard leaves have wilted.
Step 3 Place the cooked chard(leaves and stalks), garlic, walnuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil into a blender, and pulse the ingredients until they are finely chopped and look like pesto sauce. Alternatively, pulse them all together with an immersion blender, until smooth.
Step 4 Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Store the pesto in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days and use with pasta, grilled meat and fish or as a pizza topping.
Step 5 NB: Can be frozen in individual portions of an ice cube tray, or in zip lock bags or old margarine containers.
Step 6 Can be frozen in small pots or in individual portions in a ice cube tray.
Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Squid Ink Pasta

Squid Ink Pasta

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Quick and Simple Pasta Pronto! Swiss Chard and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Pasta Please

Comments

  1. says

    I love that spaghetti harvest spoof, so well done and so funny! Gorgeous pesto, such wonderful original flavours and I’m extremely envious of your home-grown walnuts!

  2. says

    how incredible is that green pesto!?!.. I love ‘garden pesto’s’ they’re so wonderful…. and your black pasta is fab too… what a lovely spring-like post, so full of colour and joy (if Spring ever comes along!) much love xx

  3. says

    Yum pesto – can’t beat it. Thanks for the link to the spaghetti harvest – I’d heard the story but never seen the actual video before – genius. Thank goodness they were finally able to wipe out the spaghetti weevil! Vohn x

  4. Maya Russell says

    I have definitely got to try this recipe as pesto and pasta is such a quick meal for the kids.

  5. says

    Oh I’m loving the Spaghetti Spoof, I’ve never heard of it but what a wonderful story! Being a fellow homemade pesto addict I was strangely also wondering lately when it was that pesto hit our shelves and restaurants…..was it the early 90s or even earlier? I know I was blown away by it, but unlike you have no memory of when or where that was!! Chard is about the only version I have yet to try, must make.

    • says

      LOL! Isn’t it funny Louisa?! I thought you might like this, as you are a bit of a home-made pesto queen, with so many lovely recipes on your blog! :-) Karen PS: I think you are right, it was in the early 90’s that Pesto hit the UK shores!

  6. says

    I love The Great Spaghetti Harvest spoof – it’s an absolute hoot! It lived on for years. One of my uncles told my brother and I that parmesan and gorgonzola cheese was made from old socks, and I am not sure that we didn’t believe him!

    I love your chard pesto. It has inspired me to have a go with my red chard, though I am pretty sure that because of it’s multi-coloured leaves that it won’t be as pretty as yours, but bound to taste good!

    • says

      I remember my grandfather telling me that those very same cheeses were made from old socks too Rachel!!!

      DO have a go with your red chard and let me know if it works, I am sure it will.

      Karen

  7. Fiona Matters says

    What a great idea! I love pesto but haven’t had it in just ages. I would never have thought of making it myself though. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. says

    I really love the idea of this. So fresh and healthy looking. I don’t have a definitive ‘go-to’ recipe for Swiss chard, but now I think I might have found one!

  9. Deborah Wheeler says

    What a great alternative to the usual pesto – I love walnuts so will have to check out the local supermarket for the swiss chard and give it a go

  10. Janet Rumley says

    Think you’ve found a recipe that both my children will enjoy – will try it out during their holidays. Thanks.

  11. says

    As a child of the 80’s it’s quite hard to get my head around the fact that pasta was seen as a weird foreign food not all that long before I was born as I grew up eating it on a regular basis. I love the little history of pasta in the UK and I can only imagine how people reacted to your Mum’s lasagne!

    Thanks so much for this delicious sounding entry to Pasta Please, I’m feeling envious of your walnut tree!

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