Rainbow chard with pignoli and pancetta

Pignoli (pine nuts), 2 tbsp
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Rainbow chard, 4-5 lb (can substitute red chard if necessary)
Garlic, crushed and finely chopped, 2 tbsp
Olive oil, 1/4 cup
Pancetta, 2 oz, coarsely chopped (original recipe used Serrano ham, which I love but find less readily; prosciutto is also an option)

1. Toast the nuts lightly in the oven (350˚F, about 10 minutes) or in a dry frying pan (watch them carefully and stir occasionally, they can burn easily). Set aside.
2. Separate the chard stems from the greens. Chop the stems into one-inch pieces and cut the greens into long strips.
3. Blanch the stems in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes (tender but still slightly firm). Drain and set aside.
4. Crisp the pancetta in a sauté pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, over medium-high heat. Set aside the crispy pancetta (with the pine nuts) but leave the oil and dripping.
5. Bring the pan to medium heat and add about one-quarter of the greens at a time, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until wilted to about half its previous size. Continuing adding greens until all have been cooked. Season with salt as you cook. Pour off excess liquid. 
6. Add pine nuts, pancetta and nuts and toss to combine quickly. Season with salt and pepper.

The story:
This is one of my favorite recipes from my other favorite cookbook, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, which I first encountered on my friends' coffee table in New York City, just before Christmas a few years ago. I perused it by the light of their Christmas tree and just knew - despite my general avoidance of cookbooks - that it was worth having.

I found it under my own Christmas tree a week later. Santa's workshop prints books, apparently.

This version is somewhat simplified. I've particularly left out the raisins, as I'm not terribly fond of them, but recently I've been reconsidering. The original calls for golden raisin soaked in dry white wine (brought to a boil first), star anise, and cloves. If you try it...let me know what you think!

We go all out for Christmas in our family!

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