Pasta with Sausage, Chard, and Artichoke Hearts

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The other night I asked the husband what he wanted to make for dinner. He told me to base the meal around swiss chard. Apparently, he had some ready in his garden, and it was harvest time.

I went online and  picked the first recipe I saw with chard, sausage and pasta. I was in the mood for thick, slurpy pasta that day. The recipe from Martha Stewart's Whole Living website (this lady really has too many sites for me to keep track of these days) looked very "whole living", but I decided to give it a try. From the start, I was convinced it would need more tomato paste. I was right, and added a lot more paste to my version.
This recipe also called for penne, but I used pappardelle. It had an interesting mix of ingredients -- everything I like, but wouldn't necessarily think of putting together.

At first taste, the dish seemed bland. Throughout dinner, I thought of how I might improve it, but, by the end of the meal, it had grown on me, and I decided to love it for what it is. It was nice and earthy, with great subtle flavors.

Actually, the husband did suggest one improvement worth mentioning, it would be better to use marinated artichokes, or even canned ones. The frozen chokes are strange tasting; I wouldn't use them again.

I had the leftovers the next day, and it tasted even better.
Pasta with Sausage, Chard, and Artichoke Hearts
(adapted from http://www.wholeliving.com/)
Serves 4
Coarse salt and black pepper
16 ounces pappardelle pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 links of chicken sausage, removed from casing
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound) cleaned, stems and leaves separated and chopped
1 (9-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
4 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces), plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1) Set a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking sausage into pieces, until cooked through and lightly browned, 10 minutes.

2) Add remaining oil, chard stems, artichoke hearts, 2 tbsp of tomato paste and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until chard stems soften slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and chard leaves and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. (I had to cover my pan for the chard stems to cook through.)

3) Add pasta to boiling water; cook until al dente. Add sun-dried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta; return to pot.

4)Pour half of reserved pasta water into a small bowl. Add tomato paste and whisk to combine. Add tomato paste mixture, sausage mixture, Parmesan, basil, and red pepper flakes to pasta in pot. Toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

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