So for dinner last night, I cooked it with pasta and white beans, topped with delicious crunchy fried breadcrumbs:
Pasta with White Beans and Chicory
1/2 lb. whole-wheat pasta
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
several bunches of chicory (or other bitter green, chopped if large leaves), washed
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1 1/2 cups home cooked)
about 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
extra-virgin olive oil, plus light olive oil for sautéing if desired
salt & pepper
1. Heavily salt some water, and put it on to boil for the pasta.
2. While water is heating, saut&ecaute; the onions in some oil (I generally use light olive oil for sautéing, saving the extra-virgin stuff for finishing and places where you'll really taste it) over medium-high heat until soft.
3. Add the red pepper flakes and the garlic, cook for 20-30 seconds until garlic blooms.
4. Add the chicory leaves, without drying too much so they have some liquid to braise in (since I tend to wash greens, especially from my lawn, by immersing in a bowl of water, I just left them in the water until it was time to add them to the skillet). Turn down the heat a bit.
5. Once the greens have cooked down, add the beans.
6. Add pasta to water once it boils; as pasta is cooking, add small amounts (1/4 c.) of pasta water to sauce and reduce - kind of like making a risotto.
7. Once pasta is cooking, heat several glugs of extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet and toast the breadcrumbs until they become golden-brown, oil soaked morsels of delicious crunchiness.
8. Drain pasta when al dante, reserving about a cup of the pasta water in case you need to thin out the sauce. Add pasta to skillet with sauce, toss to combine, add a little more pasta water if dry, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
9. Serve in pasta bowls topped with the breadcrumbs.
In addition to the chicory, I learned this past weekend that one of the invasive species we've had in the backyard for the last few years is in fact garlic mustard, and edible:
Turns out it makes a very tasty pesto, with a kind of lemony-mustardy bite, which is good, because we've got a big field of it surrounding our blueberry bushes in the back corner of the yard and, apparently, releasing a mild herbicide from its root system: