We have begun to harvest a few things from the garden this week. We picked leeks, green onions, a little broccoli rabe, and the first peas. The zucchini plants have blossoms now and we will be able to harvest fava beans, garlic scapes, and many more peas within a week. I love this season when the yard is in full bloom. Pasta with vegetables is my favorite comfort food and a great way to use fresh garden produce. I had a beautiful bag of tender sweet Swiss chard in my CSA from La Nay Ferme and, using leeks from the garden, made this light and flavorful Penne with Swiss Chard and Leeks. The sauce is supposed to be soupy when you combine it with the pasta. As the pasta sits in the serving bowl it will absorb most of the liquid and make a delicate glaze over the pasta.
Penne with Swiss Chard and Leeks
1/4 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 c. chopped leeks (3 medium leeks)
2 c. diced fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes with some of the juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 c. vegetable or chicken bouillon
5 c. lightly packed torn Swiss chard
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
3/4 lb. penne pasta
Fill a 6-quart stockpot with water and bring to a boil on high heat. Add some salt and the pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, 9-11 minutes. Drain. While pasta is cooking make your sauce. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute to soften but not brown. Add leeks, then cover and sauté 5 minutes to soften. Add tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add bouillon. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Add chard and 1 Tbsp. chopped basil. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes until chard has wilted and is soft. Add cooked penne to the sauce and stir to coat with sauce. Let cook 2-3 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Pour pasta into serving bowl and garnish with remaining 1 Tbsp. fresh basil. It is optional to top pasta with grated cheese or fresh breadcrumbs. Serves 4-5.