Everything is dead or dying in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s summer this year has been far too hot. We had a long spate of 100-degree days and went weeks without rain. Because of that, everything from the grass to the trees is dying.
It’s been hard to keep my first-year garden alive. I surrendered early to the squash bugs and had to sacrifice 7 plants. My carrots never grew bigger than a thumbnail. The cucumber plants are still going strong, but they look crispy and sunburned.
One thing has surprised me, though: I’ve gotten four harvests out of my rainbow chard so far this summer.
The plague of grasshoppers (there’s been so many this year!) hasn’t touched it. In fact, I’ve never once spotted a bug on the chard this year, and that’s saying something because ants, mites, aphids and squash bugs have invaded every plant in my garden.
The chard leaves haven’t gotten very big, but they are tender, spicy and delicious. It’s a wonderful leafy veg to incorporate into salads and side dishes and meals.
One of my favorite things to do with chard is to pair it with Italian sausage. The flavors of both ingredients combined makes for a magical mouthful of food. It’s even better if you toss it along with pasta and a quick alfredo sauce.
That’s what this dish is: a happy marriage between pasta, sausage, and chard. You should be able to find chard at the grocery store, but if not, you can substitute it for spinach or kale.
A harmonious dinner with Italian sausage, rainbow chard, fettuccine and a quick alfredo sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and chopped stems from chard. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Stir in sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned.
- Stir in flour to sausage mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minutes. Slowly stir in half-and-half and continue cooking, while stirring, until sauce thickens.
- Stir in parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, pepper and a pinch of salt into the sauce. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes before stirring in the chard leaves.
- Toss cooked fettuccine with sauce and serve topped with parmesan.