Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

I’m kind of in love.

With this soup, that is.

It’s warming and fulfilling with tons of veggies, beans, sausage, and pasta. I also threw in some beautiful Swiss Chard at the end for some added texture and flavor— but any type of dark, leafy green could do the trick. Extra veggies never hurt a gal, right?

Depending on how you like the consistency of your soup, you can either add or limit the amount of chicken broth. I personally like mine on the soupier side so I can dunk some crusty bread in.

But one thing is for certain. No matter how you prefer it, this Pasta e Fagioli is the ultimate comfort food.

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Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Pound Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Cup White Onion, diced
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Carrots, diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 28-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 15-Ounce Can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth, or more depending on desired consistency
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Dried Bay Leaves
¾- 1 Cup Macaroni Noodles, or other short pasta
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
3 Cups Swiss Chard, cleaned and roughly chopped
Kosher Salt and Pepper

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat. Continue browning until the sausage is barely pink. Add the onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and sauté until the vegetables have softened. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes with its juices and Cannellini beans. Add chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves. Partially cover and bring the pot to a boil. Remove the lid and stir in the pasta. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until pasta is al dente—about 10-12 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Stir in the cheese and Swiss Chard. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Red Swiss Chard

While at the farmers’ market the other day, we ended up picking up some Red Swiss Chard. The color was so bright and vibrant that we were immediately drawn to it. In truth, we had never prepared it before–nor did we know what we were going to do with it. But, when at the farmers’ market, pick up what’s fresh.

Since the Chard is of the dark greens genre, we figured a low, slow saute with bacon would be a great preparation. And well, I’m always trying to find ways to add bacon into things.

As for the main dish, we settled on roasting a Cornish Game for an earthy, and somewhat rustic feel. Plus, Game Hen is perfect when prepping dinner for two. MUCH faster than roasting an entire chicken and the perfect serving size.

Our end result was absolutely delicious! HEARTY, savory, and just darn belly warming. We plated the hen with toasted pieces of bread underneath to soak up all juices. Waste not, want not! And as for the Chard—stunning! Slightly bitter yet much more tender than I expected. Of course, the bacon added a wonderful smokey taste but didn’t overpower the natural flavors of the greens. This is DEFINITELY being added to my veggies repertoire.

Have any other suggestions to pair Swiss Chard with? Leave me a comment as I’m always looking for some delish suggestions!

Cheers!

Searing the  Cornish Game Hen

Thoroughly clean and dry the Chard before chopping

Browning the Onions and Bacon

Sauteing the Chard


Cornish Game Hen with Swiss Chard
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Cornish Game Hen
1 Cornish Game Hen, cleaned and thoroughly dried
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
¼ Yellow Onion, quartered
4 Large Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Bouquet Garni (3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, 5 Springs Fresh Thyme, 3 Springs Fresh Sweet Basil)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Swiss Chard
1 Bunch of fresh Swiss Chard (washed , dried, and chopped. Approximately 5-6 cups.)
3 Slices Bacon, chopped
¼ Cup Yellow Onion, sliced
4-5 Large Garlic Cloves, finely minced
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Additional
4 Thick Slices of Bread, toasted (such as Ciabatta, Sourdough)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take Hen and slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 2 tablespoons Butter underneath skin. Inside the cavity, heavily salt and pepper the hen. Stuff the cavity with the remaining Butter, Yellow Onion, Garlic, and Bouquet Garni. Rub the exterior of the Hen with Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper the Hen. Tie the legs loosely together with kitchen twine.

In a dutch oven heated on medium high, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the Hen in the dutch oven, breast side down. Sear until golden brown—approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip Hen so that the breast faces upwards. Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven. After 25 minutes, remove lid. Roast Hen until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 degrees. Carefully remove from dutch oven and rest on cutting board. Cover and loosely tent with aluminum foil.

Move dutch oven to the range and turn flame to medium. Carefully add sliced Yellow Onion and chopped Bacon. Cook until Bacon is barely crispy. Add Garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add stems of Swiss Chard and stir. Cover and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove lid and add leaves of Swiss Chard. Sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes or until Chard is tender.  Remove from heat and stir in Vinegar. Salt and Pepper to taste.

To plate, place Swiss Chard on dish. Place two pieces of toasted bread on top of Chard. Proceed to place Hen on top of toast. Spoon any remaining juices from the Swiss Chard dutch oven over the chicken.

Serve and Enjoy!