"Husband Blinders" with Rainbow Chard and Brown-Butter Sauce

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson
Prep Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
4 to 6 Serves

Originating in Lazio, Italy, the cheeky name for this dumpling-style pasta refers to husbands returning home for dinner and being blinded by this impressive-looking yet deceptively simple dish.


  • ¼ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, room temperature

  • cup warm water (110 degrees)

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1 ¼-ounce envelope)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 cup semolina flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)

  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving

  • 12 ounces rainbow chard, stems sliced, leaves coarsely chopped

  • cup heavy cream

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, for serving


  1. Stir together wine, warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, then both flours. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead with floured hands until dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky but no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl brushed with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

  2. Punch down dough. Shape into a ball on a clean surface; divide into 6 pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keep remaining dough covered), roll out with floured hands into a long, 1/2-inch diameter log (if dough slides on surface and is difficult to roll out, dampen your hands). Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece back and forth between your palms to form a 3-inch-long spindle-shaped piece of pasta (center should be thicker than edges). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet generously dusted with semolina, turning pasta to evenly coat. Repeat with remaining dough, keeping pasta in a single layer (use a second sheet dusted with semolina, if necessary). If not using immediately, cover pasta with plastic and refrigerate up to 1 day.

  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. When it boils, reduce heat to medium; simmer until foamy. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan, until foam subsides, butter turns golden brown with a nutty aroma, and milk solids separate into brown specks that sink to bottom, 2 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl.

  4. Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium. Add 2 tablespoons brown butter, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook 30 seconds. Stir in chard stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chard leaves and cook until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted water until pasta is al dente, floats to the surface, and puffs, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer to skillet along with 1/2 cup pasta water, cream, and cheese. Simmer, gently stirring a few times, until sauce thickens slightly and evenly coats pasta, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve, drizzled with more brown butter and sprinkled with sesame seeds and more red-pepper flakes and cheese.

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