Stratford Garlic Festival! This Weekend

Last year's Stratford Garlic Festival, it smelled divine!
I am so happy and excited to head to Stratford Saturday morning to get some super delicious local garlic and do a cooking demo with other awesome Ontario ingredients! Here are the recipes I will be making at 12:30 Saturday September 7th! Hope you can make it. If you stay after me two of my favourite ladies will be cooking as well-Elizabeth Baird and Rose Murray. An afternoon of garlic, food and fun. You can't go wrong. I'll post photos of the recipes after I make them tomorrow. Both of these recipes are from my cookbook "Get in the Kitchen and COOK!"

Pancetta and Swiss chard Pasta 

The heat in this pasta dish comes from the hot pepper flakes, which you can leave out if a bit of spice is not for you. For a smokier version of the pasta dish try using 8 slices of bacon for the pancetta.

1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
4 oz (125 g) thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
4 cups (1 L) packed thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
1 cup (250 mL) canned plum tomatoes with juices or chopped fresh tomatoes
4 cups (1 L) penne rigate pasta
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat and cook pancetta for about 5 minutes or until crisp. Add Swiss chard and cook stirring for about 2 minutes or until wilted. Add garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and stock; bring to boil, breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Reduce heat and boil gently for about 15 minutes or until thickened with some juices remaining.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and return to pot. Add Swiss chard sauce and toss with pasta to coat. Add cheese and toss to combine.

Makes 4 servings.

Vegetarian Option: Omit pancetta and add 1 can (19 oz) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed with tomatoes.

Swiss Chard Option: You can substitute rapini, kale or spinach for the Swiss chard.

Veal with Walnut Pesto

The pesto makes a crust on the veal chop that adds a touch of fresh garden herb flavour. Traditionally pesto uses pine nuts, but here walnuts shine with added taste. This pesto is also delicious tossed with pasta or used as a stuffing in roasts. 

6 veal loin chops, about 2½ lbs (1.25 kg)
¼ tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper 

Walnut Pesto:
1 cup (250 mL) each lightly packed fresh basil and Italian parsley leaves
½ cup (125 mL) lightly packed fresh mint leaves
¾ cup (175 mL) unsalted walnut halves
½ cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Walnut Pesto: In a food processor, pulse basil, parsley and mint until coarse. Add walnut and cheese. Puree until smooth. With the food processor running, drizzle in oil until smooth paste forms. Pulse in garlic. 

Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Spread chops with pesto on both sides and place on a greased grill over medium-high heat and grill, turning once for about 10 minutes or until a hint of pink remains.

Makes 6 servings.

Helpful Hint
Try using the pesto on pork chops.

The pesto would also be perfect for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs or salmon for the barbecue.

When fresh herbs are in season, you could make a larger batch of fresh pesto and freeze in ice cube trays for future use.


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