Sunday, 1 December 2013

Ruby Red Chard and Feta Pasta Loaf

I've had a tremendously busy day today, and a rewarding one too, it's lifted my spirit.  So I am off to put my feet up and enjoy what is left of my evening, but before I sign off from the blog, I thought I would share with you a recipe I made a week or so back when I visited  Usk Farmers Market, where I discovered the most wonderful home-made bread and was seduced by these tall long ruby chard stems.  I really miss growing rainbow chard at home, so was delighted by this find. I picked up a bag full that looked like a bunch of flowers and would look wonderful adorning any vase.  But the ruby chard was not for admiring.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

My husband reminded me of this pasta dish I used to make.  although its nothing like a macaroni cheese pie, its the closest thing I can think of to describe this pasta dish that is baked in a pastry.  I usually make this pasta loaf with spinach, but with the red chard to hand that is what I used.    

It was really nice.  The red chard has a distinct flavour, you'll either like it or not.  Fortunately for us, we like it.  There was also a twang from the feta cheese.  This pasta loaf is perhaps best enjoyed the next day, as it sliced better cold or at room temperature, making it good for the lunch box or picnics. Not that it is picnic weather of course, but you get my point.  
Here it is, a generous slice.  As the main ingredient in this Pasta Loaf is Ruby Red Chard picked up  from Ty Mawr Vegetable stall at Usk Farmers MarketI am sharing this recipe with Elizabeth's Kitchen foShop Local #4 challenge.
Ruby Red Chard and Feta Cheese Pasta Loaf
Serves 6 - 8 depending on size of slices
For the filling
200g - 225g macaroni pasta (or penne)
50g butter
200g-300g ruby Swiss chard or spinach, roughly chopped including the stalks
1 tablespoon cornflour, mixed to a paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water
250ml double cream
3 medium eggs, beaten
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for shortcrust pasty to line a 2lb loaf tin
225g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g butter
3 tablespoons water
Method
Cook pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.  Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pan, add the stalks first and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, before adding the the remaining chard and cook until the leaves begin to wilt.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta.
Now make the shortcrust pastry
Add flour and salt to a bowl.  Add the butter, then rub it into the flour with your fingertips, lifting the mixture out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible as this will make the pastry light.  Continue until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, then add the water, tablespoon at a time, pressing together to form a firm dough.  Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead rolling out the dough to line a 2 lb loaf tin.  Cut off over-lapping excess and re-roll this to fit as a lid.
Carefully transfer the pasta mixture into the pastry case, pressing down gently.  Then in a bowl, combine the cornflour paste with cream, eggs and feta cheese.  Season to taste.  Then pour this over the pasta in the tin, until it covers the pasta.
Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little water, then top with the pastry lid.  Seal the edges by pressing with your thumb or fork.  Make a small hole in the top for the steam to escape.  Bake in a preheated oven gas mark 4/180oc for 45 minutes to an hour or until the pastry is golden.  Leave to cool 15 minutes, before turning out and cooling for a further 15 minutes before slicing.

20 comments:

  1. I think it needs a cheese sauce! You should say that if you like beetroot, you'll like Ruby Chard, since (being closely related) they taste very similar.
    BTW: It's great to hear you sounding so positive and enthusiastic again. Your old self has returned?

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    1. Mark,
      Not this time, Its got cream and feta cheese in it - how chubby do you want me to get :)
      Yes your right re chard being related to beetroot - hopefully when I get my growing fingers again (fingers crossed next year will be a good one) then I will be able to relate to veg the way I used to when I started this blog.

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  2. This sounds gorgeous! I only tried red chard for the first time this year when it arrived in my veg box and I loved it. I've never heard of a pasta loaf before either - clever!! Thank you for sharing with #ShopLocal :)

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  3. Looks like a great deli product! Have you thought of selling it?

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    1. :) Of course, though we got to ate it before it went to market. Maybe next time.

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  4. That looks a really interesting dish Shaheen, and I'm guessing it's quite a substantial plate full. I love feta and chard if I can find it. :)

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    1. It is substantial and makes a good lunch. Warm or at room temperature. I am hoping to start growing chard next year (fingers crossed) I loved rainbow chard and its colours.

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  5. that looks fantastic - and it is picnic weather here - if only I had come here before our picnic yesterday (and then had the energy to make this)

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    1. Thank you Johanna. I sometimes can't get my head round the weather in your part of the world, esp when its nippy here. Hopefully, you'll get to try this next year. I made it again with butternut squash and it was yummy.

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  6. Yum, your pasta sound excellent! I love all the ingredients!

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    1. Thank you Nicole. I am hoping to make another variation soon.

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  7. I've never seen pasta cooked this way before, Shaheen! I love it :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel. Happy New Year and check out the same pasta loaf but with a different filling on my last December recipe, Hope you like it too.

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