What to Do with Too Much Chard…

 Chard and Almond pesto
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds Swiss chard
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
? cup almonds, sliced and toasted
½ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (at least 6 quarts with 1 tablespoon salt) to the boil. As it heats, rinse and drain the chard leaves, and cut off the stems; if the central rib of the leaf is thick and tough, cut it out. (Save the trimmings for stock.) Pile up the leaves, and slice them crosswise into strips about 1 inch wide.

When the water’s boiling, heap all the chard into the pot and stir, submerging the strips.

Return the water to the boil, and cook the chard until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. With a spider or other strainer, lift out the chard strips, and drop them into a colander.

When the chard has drained and cooled a bit, squeeze the strips by handfuls, pressing out the liquid. Loosen the clumps, and pile the strips in the colander.

To make the herb-and- almond pesto: Put into the food-processor bowl the basil and mint leaves, the crushed garlic cloves, three tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process to a chunky paste, about 10 seconds, then drop in the toasted almonds and process again for 10 seconds, or until you have a smooth bright-green paste.

~Lidia Bastianich

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