Swiss chard with cannellini beans and tomatoes

January 2, 2008

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Serves 6

2 bunches (about 2 pounds total) Swiss chard
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Extra olive oil (for sprinkling)

1. In a large soup pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil over high heat.

2. Rinse the chard thoroughly. Cut off and discard the stems at the base of the leaves. Slice the leaves crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

3. Drop the chard into the boiling water. Cover and when the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and simmer the chard for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain into a colander. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat. Stir constantly for 2 minutes or until the garlic just begins to turn golden. Immediately stir in the tomato paste. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.

4. Add the plum tomatoes, turn the heat to high, and stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes to soften the tomatoes. Add the beans and the chard. Continue cooking over high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes more. Lower the heat to medium-low, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

5. Simmer, stirring often, for 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with extra olive oil before serving. Adapted from "Lidia's Italy"