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Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Swiss chard and spinach are often used interchangeably in Italy. Both can be prepared this way, though chard is especially good, as its natural sweetness is complemented by the flavors of the raisins and butter.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts  
  • 1 1/2 lb. Swiss chard, tough stems trimmed 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 2 Tbs. raisins 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

In a small, dry fry pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan often, until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool.

Cut the chard crosswise into strips 1 inch wide. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the chard, water and the 2 tsp. salt. Cover and cook, uncovering to stir once or twice, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander, pressing out any excess moisture with the back of a spoon.

Rinse out the saucepan and return to low heat. Add the butter. When it melts, add the chard and raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are evenly coated with the butter and the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).