Where are you?
September was warm, just like it should be. The leaves are still green, the grass is still growing.
But October started gray and cold with frigid rain and wind. Three days straight of nasty, winter-like weather.
Are you there, Fall?
I’m ready for your color show – reds and yellows and oranges. I’d like to pull out my sweaters and boots without needing my winter coat, too.
And that snow I saw falling yesterday afternoon? Not cool. Not cool at all.
I want pumpkin and hot cocoa. The smell of burn piles and leaves crunching under my feet. Chilly mornings and bright blue afternoon skies.
If you are going to skip by me this year, could you at least make the winter greens and squashes show up faster? I’ll need something to make if I’m not going to have the last of the summer produce.
Your Biggest Fan
Are you having nice fall weather?
On second thought, don’t answer that. Because we are not.
It went straight from the end of summer to winter weather here, and I’m waiting for fall to show up. I’m trying to be patient but rain + snow on gray, chilly days is not making it any better.
In the meantime, all this cold weather has me wanting winter produce, including swiss chard – one of my favorites! I did not eat greens when I was growing up, so this is kind of a big deal. I still don’t eat many greens on their own, but I really love them in pasta dishes and soups.
Swiss chard isn’t bitter like other greens, but it’s sturdy enough to bake in a dish without getting soggy. And isn’t that the worst? I hate soggy spinach so much that it makes me very picky about how I eat it.
Swiss chard is the perfect balance: hearty and sturdy, but light enough in flavor that you can put it in almost anything.
Plus, a cheesy crust makes everything better.
Swiss Chard Stuffed Shells
Makes: 8 servings
- 1.5 pounds large whole wheat pasta shells
- 1.5 cups ricotta (homemade, if you have the time!)
- 2.5 cups swiss chard, washed and chopped into small pieces
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 Tbsp parsley
- 1 Tbsp basil
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
- .5 cup parmesan, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and let cook for 7-8 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, sauté the swiss chard in a pan until it has wilted and softened.
- Stir in swiss chard, salt, and pepper into the ricotta.
- Stir together the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, parsley, and basil in a separate bowl.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and let cool for a few minutes.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish and, taking one pasta shell at a time, fill with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish.
- Repeat with the remaining shells until all the pasta is filled and the ricotta is gone.
- Pour tomato sauce over the stuffed shells and top with the cheeses.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.