Swiss Chard and Lemon Ricotta Pasta

-Ingredients (4 servings)-

  • 3 cups raw Swiss chard, sliced (including the stems)
  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch dried red pepper flakes

-Directions-

  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the Swiss chard for 5 minutes. Scoop out the chard, and drain well, squeezing out as much of the water as possible. Chop again and set aside.
  2. Keep the pot of water boiling, and add the spaghetti noodles. Follow the directions on the packet for making the spaghetti. Drain and set aside, retaining about 1 cup of liquid from cooking the noodles.
  3. Sauté the onion until soft, adding olive oil if needed.
  4. Add the Swiss chard and toss well to break up the chard clumps.
  5. Combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses in a small bowl, and add the lemon zest, salt, and red pepper flakes. Add to the Swiss chard mixture in the sauté pan and mix well.
  6. Add cooked spaghetti, and some of the pasta water as needed. Serve warm.

Notes:
Since chard cooks down, it is possible to increase the chard up to 4½ cups.

For a richer sauce increase the ricotta cheese to ½ cup.

Some substitutes for Swiss chard are kale, spinach and arugula. If kale is substituted remove the tough central stem. If either arugula or baby spinach leaves are used, do not precook; just toss them in with the cooked noodles during the last step. The warmth of the pasta will sufficiently wilt them.

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