Chard Rice and Beans

I was particularly excited about making this dish until I was in the kitchen and realized my grave error. This recipe calls for orzo and I assumed this usual pantry staple would be hanging out in our pantry. But no! It had been used and not replaced. So I had a small panic attack figuring out which grain / pasta would be the best substitute - whole wheat penne, brown rice, couscous, or quinoa. Ultimately I decided on brown rice and this turned into an interesting spin on rice and beans. I think we were both pleasantly surprised.

Swiss Chard with Orzo, Cannelini Beans and Pancetta from
Serves 4-6
1 c orzo [feel free to substitute brown rice; I used a family size boil in a bag]
1 tbsp olive oil
6 oz diced pancetta
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large bunches Swiss chard, leaves removed from stems and roughly chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 15 oz can cannelini beans [rinsed]
2 tbsp chicken broth

Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook the orzo for about 9 minutes, or until al dente [or cook rice according to package directions]. Drain and set aside.

In a deep sided saute pan or medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the Swiss chard, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the Swiss chard, stirring periodically, until it begins to wilt. Add the cooked orzo, cannelini beans, and chicken broth, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.

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