Among leaf vegetables, Swiss chard is my favorite. The leaves, sweeter and more delicate than spinach, can be boiled and served as salad, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice; parboiled, then sautéed with butter and Parmesan or with olive oil and garlic; used in stuffing tortelloni; substituted for spinach to make green pasta. The stalks of mature chard are as meaty as celery without the strings, and considerably finer in texture. They can be braised, gratinéed, fried, stuffed, or made into filling for cannelloni.
Although this chard stuffing is derived from the preceding one with asparagus, its flavor has more force: One reason is that here I have used prosciutto instead of boiled ham; another is that the prosciutto, unlike the ham in the asparagus stuffing, is made even more savory by sautéing it with butter and shallots before combining it with the chard stalks. There is, moreover, a substantial difference in texture because, where the asparagus was chopped, the chard stalks are cut into long julienne strips.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.