It's Easter weekend and the house is full of family. My oldest daughter is home from university and my mom drove in this morning. Tomorrow, my sister and her family will be helping us celebrate. We'll have an egg hunt, just as we have every year since the girls were born. My youngest daughter was about eight months old the first year she participated. She wasn't sure what those colourful objects were, but she sure loved putting them in her mouth to check them out! And I'll never forget the year my oldest daughter dressed as the Easter Bunny to meet my mother when she arrived. She lovingly crafted ears, feet and a tail out of construction paper and hopped to the front door when the doorbell rang. She was pleased that her grandmother loved the costume, but a little surprised that she didn't mistake her for the actual Easter Bunny.
Many of us will be eating a big Easter meal this weekend, so let me present a lighter alternative in case you're feeling full. I fell in love with this recipe the minute I saw it posted on Joanne's marvellously entertaining blog, Eats Well With Others. Once the peppers are roasted it's ready in no time - a perfect meal to serve when your whole family is home.
Pizza Rustica Pasta
(adapted from Eats Well With Others)
2 medium red bell peppers
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb swiss chard, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tsp minced garlic
12 ounces mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
2 ounces gruyere, shredded
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
10 ounces whole wheat fettuccine or spaghetti
Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves skin-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and flatten with your hands. Broil until charred and black on the outsides. Place into a closed container for 5 minutes. Peel skin off and discard. Coarsely chop pepper flesh.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add chard to the pan and cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Place chard and bell peppers in a large bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and soft. Add to the vegetable mixture along with the ricotta, gruyere, parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Cook pasta to desired consistency according to package directions, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and toss with vegetable/cheese mixture, adding half of the reserved water. Stir to combine and add more water as needed to create desired sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.