Category Archives: Vegetables

Slow-Roasted Swiss Chard Stems with Parmigiano

Many people are stumped as to what to do with Swiss chard leaves: they use the leaves, and discard the stems. Swiss chard stems are delicious in salad, or even roasted.

After trimming your Swiss chard stems (see below), wash well, chop coarsely, and cook for 5 minutes in boiling water before dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and slivered garlic; or boil as whole stems and roast under a layer of béchamel sauce and a dusting of Parmigiano at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Or, simpler and healthier still, try the recipe below, for slow-roasted Swiss chard stems with just a dusting of Parmigiano.

Check out our recipe for Pasta Gratin with Swiss Chard, Fontina, and Nutmeg to use up your Swiss chard leaves now that you’ve used the stems!

Serves 2

  • Stems from 2 bunches Swiss chard (I prefer rainbow chard for its vibrant colors)
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Preheat the oven to 325° (preferably set on convection).

To prepare Swiss chard stems for cooking, wash well, then take a paring knife and cut off the bottom half-inch or so from each stem, and without releasing the knife, pull up to “peel” each stem, effectively removing a thin outer layer of fibrous strings.



Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the stems and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or just until the stems are tender when pierced with a knife; they should not be falling apart.


Drain and cool under running water. Blot dry on paper towels and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with the olive oil and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Dust with the Parmigiano.

Lay another sheet of parchment paper over the stems and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the stems are golden and soft.  (If you do not have parchment paper, cover with aluminum foil; the stems need to be covered while roasting or they will dry out.) Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Mom’s Roasted Fennel with Parmigiano

I grew up eating my mom’s roasted fennel and loving it; but when I tried to make it on my own, after I moved out of my parents’ home, I just couldn’t get it to taste anywhere near as good as my mom’s. The trick: boiling the fennel before roasting it. If you skip the boiling step, the fennel will come out stringy and fibrous rather than sweet and caramelized.

I always make more than I need of this just so I can enjoy leftovers; you can chop up any extra  fennel and warm it again as a sauce for pasta, or throw it on slices of focaccia topped with Mozzarella or Fontina and bake until the bread is crispy; or stir into beaten eggs with a splash of cream for a heavenly frittata.

Serves 4

  • 3 fennel bulbs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (28 grams or 1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 325°F (preferably set on convection ).

Rinse the fennel bulbs and cut the tops off each; reserve the feathery fronds to garnish salads or soups, and the stalks for stocks or as a base for roasting fish or lamb. Cut off about 1/4 inch at the bottom of each bulb. Quarter each fennel and cut out the fibrous triangular core from each quarter. Slice each quarter thickly.


fennelsliceRinse the sliced fennel under running water to eliminate any remaining grit from between the layers.


Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the fennel and add 1 tablespoon of the salt; cover and cook over medium heat  for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Drain, rinse under cool water, and drain again.

Place on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with the remaining teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano and then spread out on the baking sheets so the fennel is in a single layer if possible. Sprinkle the top with the  remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano.


Roast in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and lightly crisp around the edges, stirring once in a while to promote even browning. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve hot.