Spicy Swiss chard mac and cheese
There can never be too many versions of mac and cheese. Here's one to use up those summer greens.
I have the best summer memories as a kid centered on Swiss chard. I know, a totally bizarre thing to conjure up childhood memories, but anytime I eat it, I think of my mom gardening while my brother and I either splashed around in the pool or ran around the yard with the neighborhood kids in an impromptu game of soccer.
It wasn't a big garden, but in my kid head, it seemed to give us unlimited amounts of Swiss chard, zucchini and tomatoes, which we ate pretty much nonstop for August and September.
Too bad Mom wasn't throwing it into mac and cheese like this creamy recipe, though, because there would've been a lot less dinnertime complaints if that were the case!
Spicy Swiss chard mac and cheese recipe
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 ounces ground hot Italian sausage (optional)
- 8 ounces pasta
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Once fragrant (about 2 minutes), add the Swiss chard and sausage (if using), and toss to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the Swiss chard has wilted and the sausage is browned. Drain the water and fat from the pan, and set the pan aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, and cook for about 2 minutes less than the directions specify.
- Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and add the cheddar, cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Using a spatula, toss to combine until everything is melted and creamy.
- Add the Swiss chard mixture from the pan to the pot, and toss again.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges start to crisp and brown.
- Remove the mac and cheese dish from the oven, and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.