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Swiss chard pesto

(Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
March 30, 2011

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Serves 6

I first had Swiss chard pesto two years ago while volunteering on an organic farm in Italy. It was a revelation. Pesto, usually made with basil, is also fantastic with any leafy greens — radish greens, turnip tops, kale. Swiss chard is the easiest to work with because of its enormous, easy-to-tear leaves. For vegans, omit the cheese in the pesto, as I do here. Then boil a pot of pasta and grate a good bit of Parmesan onto the servings for people who want it. Use fresh whole-wheat spaghetti or a dried shape with a little curve, such as fusilli. This amount of pesto is enough for just under 2 pounds of pasta.

1 large bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and torn into strips (enough to make 4 1/2 cups packed)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup good olive oil

1. In a food processor, pulse the Swiss chard a few times to break up the leaves.

2. Add the walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Work the mixture smooth.

3. With the motor running, add the remaining olive oil through the feed tube in a thin steady stream.

Luke Pyenson