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Italian Home Cooking
by Julia Della Croce

Swiss chard and other greens are nourishing and good for the digestion. In southern Italy, they are a daily feature on the table. Lacinato (Tuscan) kale and collard greens can also be cooked this way. For a meatless version, omit the pancetta or bacon and substitute two or three additional tablespoons of olive oil.
Serve 4


• 3/4 pound Swiss Chard
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
• 4 large shallots, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• freshly ground black or white pepper
• 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar, or to taste


1. Wash the chard well to dislodge any dirt clinging to the leaves. Drain any excess water but allow the water that clings to the leaves to remain. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut out the center rib and stem of every leaf. The easiest way to do this is to fold the leaf in half lengthwise and slice off the tough spine. Trim and discard the stems. Only if the stalks are tender, mince them. If they are tough, discard. Coarsely chop the greens.

2. In an ample nonreactive, nonstick casserole or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta or bacon to the pan and saute over medium heat until crisp and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a side dish. Discard all but 4 tablespoons of fat from the pan.

3. Add the shallots and minced stalks and saute over medium-low heat until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the greens to the pan and raise the heat to medium. Saute, tossing occasionally, until the greens wilt completely but still retain their vivid color, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the vinegar, and scatter with the pancetta or bacon. Serve hot.


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