This recipe is delicious and a good way to use Swiss chard which is still somewhat in season. It calls for orecchiette pasta, but sometimes it’s hard to find, so I just use medium shell pasta. Additionally, it asks you to blanch the Swiss chard (put it in boiling water, then dip it in ice water, then chop it) but you could just saute it instead. Whatever you have time for.

Orecchiette Pasta with Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese, and Red Peppers


  • 3/4 pound Swiss chard (1 bunch), stemmed and washed in two changes of water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut in small dice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 3/4 pound orecchiette
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup) 

1. Begin heating a large pot of water while you stem and wash the chard. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water in the pot comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard. Blanch the chard leaves for one to two minutes until tender. Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer the chard to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop medium-fine. Keep the pot of water at a simmer.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet, and add the bell peppers and the red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until tender, five to eight minutes. Add the garlic and salt to taste, and stir for half a minute. Then stir in the chopped chard and the marjoram. Stir together for a few seconds, then turn the heat to very low.

3. Bring the water in the pasta pot back to a boil, and add the orecchiette. Cook al dente, following the timing instructions on the package. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan with the chard and peppers. Stir in the goat cheese. Drain the pasta, transfer to the pan and toss with the chard, pepper and goat cheese mixture. Serve hot.

Recipe and photo credit: NYTimes