Unhealthily balancing Swiss chard with gemelli pasta and pine nuts

Pasta with Swiss chard

It is well known that this time of year finds Gourmandistan searching for new ways to deal with CSA chard. We’ve long been fans of this healthy idea from Martha Rose Schulman, but were recently in the mood for something a little more robust. Enter Martha Stewart and her circa 2003 recipe for Gemelli with Sausage, Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts. Pre-prison Martha saw the wisdom of loading carbs into the mix of chard, raisins and nuts, with some sausage added to allow everything to ooze together. Put in some pasta water and you’ll find bitter, sweet, savory and more in a filling dish you can make for dinner in minutes. Gemelli is a sturdy, sauce-storing pasta shape that may be a bit hard to find (we got ours at Whole Foods), but any twisty-type dry pasta will probably do fine.

We’re still expecting more chard this CSA season, and will most likely give both Marthas’ recipes another go. Former convict Martha’s idea, however, is the one that has Steve dreaming of making his own sturdy, twisted pasta.

RECIPE NOTES:  We didn’t change much other than the usual addition of garlic and red pepper flakes. The called-for pound of pasta seems a bit excessive for 4 servings, however.


  1. By the time I make it to my Thursday farmer’s market after work, I’m left staring at a pile of chard and not much else. Luckily, I love the stuff. This is a nice twist on a classic.

    • They should tell you when you join a CSA: you must love chard! Actually, I like it very much. And find it much less difficult to deal with than the beets. 🙂

    • That pasta shape is pretty cool. I’d never noticed it before I came upon this recipe and started looking for it. And I admit: I love Martha! I’m so missing her satellite radio station which I used to listen to constantly in the car. 😦

  2. I want a pasta extruder! I want to make fun twisty pasta too! I love this idea, as I too am trying to eat my way through way too much swiss chard from my CSA box, and I think it is HEALTHY to balance your leafy greens with plenty of pasta. After all, it’s made with olive oil. Tomorrow is eat the rest of the kale in the fridge or die trying day. Since I’ve got pine nuts (albeit no sausage) and anchovies, maybe I should try a filthy adaptation of this recipe?

    • Funny, isn’t it, how we stretch the truth to make a point? Of course, lawyers would never do that … would we? 😉 Steve wants an extruder, too. But we have no more room for any more kitchen tools!

  3. Unhealthy? Hardly. This is the food of gladiators and it sounds delicious! I really do enjoy dishes that mix greens with pasta and sausage but I agree. If you cook a full pound of pasta and maintain the balance of ingredients, you will end up with much more than 4 servings. In my case. that’s not a problem. The leftovers would make a few fine lunches, too! I can’t wait to see what else you come up with to use your chard. 🙂

  4. In my “CSA” here in Lille, I can order the veggies I want ahead of time, and I have currently been asking for chard (P. loves it). Have you checked out the chard recipes in Jerusalem? I have tried two of them, and they were really nice! I sometimes make pasta with chard, but this recipe, with the sausage, sounds really delicious. I will keep it in mind for the next time I have chard (Wednesday).

    • Quel est le mot pour “CSA” en français? That’s cool that you can order what you want! I have the Jerusalem cookbook. I drooled over it. I even went out and bought sumac. I have absolutely no excuse for not yet cooking anything from it. Must remedy that!

      • A CSA in French is “AMAP”, “association pour le maintien d’une agriculture paysanne” and it is similar to American CSAs. I am part of a different organization called “La Ruche qui dit oui”, Lebovitz writes about it here if you are interested: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/10/la-ruche-qui-dit-oui-paris/
        I really love it! And it is quite cheap as well, which is definitely a plus. I do some extra shopping at the market for herbs and stuff not offered at the “Ruche”, but most of my dairy, vegetables, and sometimes meat comes from there.

  5. I made a similar recipe last night. It started out healthy with chicken sausage and broccoli, but I thought a bit of heavy cream and lots of good parmesan at the end was necessary. I enjoy chard for breakfast with an over easy egg on top.

  6. Love this! Looks like a great way to use up chard. When I have too much, I’ve done stuffed chard rolls, spanakopita, and there is this great chard and herb pie with an olive oil and whole wheat crust from Deborah Madison.

    On a side note, I wish Martha would put out a prison cookbook. Did I tell you guys about this interview I saw with her right after she was sprung from prison? She was telling the interviewer how she made apple crumble out of crab apples scavenged from the prison yard, sugar packets and crumbled saltines cooked in the visitors’ lounge microwave.

  7. Chard and sausage (especially with fennel seed) are a killer combination. There wasn’t any hrpf or garlic in the original??!! As for Steve and twisty pasta, well, we all need to enjoy something that looks really rustica once in awhile (e.g. the chicken in our last post). Tell him, Good luck. Ken

  8. What a beautiful dish. This is a classic Italian preparation, full of different textures, sweet, bitter and hot. Yours looks wonderful! Bravo!

  9. Pingback: Cuisine du quotidien {Pâtes aux blettes} | Tortore

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