Lent has began and the topic of this month’s Cucina Conversations is about Vegetarian or Vegan recipes.
Finally a little of rest from processed and big lunches, before starting again with Easter Celebrations. 🙂
Those lucky enough to own a little garden close to the house, know how precious is chard. The italian names are different and change from North to South. we can call these vegetables Bieta, Coste or Bietola. In southern dialects we gave it the name of Secra.
Nonna Mena taught me how to farm the land. She is a real master in this and I think, I am quite similar to her. When I’m out in the garden, I forget everything, only the sun reminds me when it’s time to come in. Nonna also preserves all types of seeds, and her chard seeds are very very old. She harvest the seeds every summer, then she let them dry in the sun before giving to everybody of us, for our gardens. I’m very proud to be her granddaughter. And very proud when someone tell me I’m look like her.
But coming back to the recipe…
Different names and different varieties of chards. In my garden there are the “Costa Verde” chard variety, with large and white stems, and the “da taglio” chard, with green leaves and tiny stems. This type is very common here in Calabria, it’s, among other things, Nonna’s variety. Very quick to reproduce after cutting and, at the same time, it needs no particular attentions in the planting process.
In my garden there are chards of five years old. The ones that I could save from my hubby and from his devastating tractor.
If you have a garden you must have chard. You can be sure that you will harvest chard continuously. From spring to winter.
Most important thing is that this vegetable has an incredible amount of healthy benefits.
It is perfect for those who have an iron deficiency. For those who are on a diet, because chard is rich of water and mineral salts. I definitely love chard. It is, without any doubt, one of my best friends.
You can use chard in the same ways as spinach, especially leaves. Large stems are perfect breaded and fried as a Cotoletta, children love this way.
For this round of Cucina Conversations I will leave you my recipe for a Pasticcio di Bieta ( chard pasty ).
I tasted it the first time to my auntie Iolanda’s home. She is the real master of this recipe.
Pasticcio di Bieta e Formaggio
Ingredients – Serves 4
1 kilo Swiss chard
3 tbs fresh bread crumbs
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
2 tbs Mozzarella finally chopped
1 garlic Clove
Clean and cut the chard in two or three pieces. Boil it in a large pan with salted water, for about five minutes. It has to be crunchy, because it will end the cooking in a sauce pan. Leave a little of boiled water in a glass. It could be necessary later.
In a large saucepan put the olive oil and the garlic clove. Let them gently fry for a moment. Remove the garlic and add the boiled chard. Continue to fry, stirring occasionally, if necessary add the boiled water.
Now add the bread crumbs. Two minutes before the final cooking, add the parmesan cheese. At the end you can sprinkle with mozzarella cheese finely chopped.
It is a good side dish, or you can put it in a sandwich for a lunch box, or best of all you can taste this Pasticcio as a single healthy dish.
The other Cucina Conversations of this round:
Carmen – The Heirloom Chronicles Crocchette di Patate e Cicoria
Daniela – La Dani Gourmet Pasta al Forno di Magro
Flavia – Flavia’s Flavors Torta Rustica di Spinaci
Francesca – Pancakes and Biscotti Frittata di Pasta alla Napoletana
Lisa – Italian Kiwi Torta salata with Pumpkin and Radicchio
Rosemarie aka Turinmamma Carciofi Trifolati, a springtime must.
Easter is on his way… stay tuned! 🙂