Swiss Chard and Lemon Ricotta Pasta

July  5, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is an easy, last minute dinner since you might have many of the ingredients on hand. If you don't have any swiss chard, kale, spinach and arugula also work great. If you use kale, I recommend removing the tough central stem. If you use either arugula or baby spinach leaves, you don't need to precook them at all; just toss them in at the end. The warmth of the pasta will sufficiently wilt them. —TheWimpyVegetarian

Test Kitchen Notes

Tender swiss chard, creamy ricotta cheese, crispy bacon, and lemon zest combine with spaghetti to create a dish that is brimming with fresh, lovely flavors. This dish comes together quickly and doesn’t feature unusual ingredients, making it perfect for a weekday dinner. I loved how nothing is wasted, the same pot is used to cook the pasta and chard and the bacon fat is left in the pan to flavor the pasta. A few notes: Chard cooks down, so I used 4½ cups rather than the 3 cups called for in the recipe. I also upped the ricotta cheese to ½ cup to make the sauce a little richer. —cookinginvictoria

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups raw Swiss chard, sliced (including the stems)
  • 2 handfuls dried spaghetti
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices or lardons
  • 1/2 large shallot, minced
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
  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. Fry bacon until just crispy. Add the shallot and saute 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 saute pan and mix well.
  6. Add cooked spaghetti, and some of the pasta water as needed.
  7. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Danna Farabee
    Danna Farabee
  • panania
  • Heather O'Neil
    Heather O'Neil
  • Bir
  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks

72 Reviews

Danna F. April 11, 2022
Made this tonight. It was really great. Didn't have ricotta so used keffir with the parmesan, no lemon because it's already tangy. Great one pot meal!
panania February 4, 2022
It's been a long time since I read this recipe, but I make at least twice a month now. One change I did make was I remove the bacon from the pan before I add the shallots and save it as a garnish at the end. I also remove the chard stems, but these things are preferences. As far as the instruction go they're spot on. You just need to make it a few times before you get the timing right. And as far as the taste is concerned,.. There's a reason why this recipe has made it into our regulars, it is awesome.
jencordes February 3, 2022
This recipe required so much tweaking to make it taste like anything, that it no longer resembled the original recipe as written. As I am reviewing the actual recipe itself, I would pass if you’re thinking about making it. Otherwise just wing it with similar ingredients.
Helen August 26, 2021

This was a good, easy recipe that I used as a road map. I used rigatoni because I had a lot in my pantry but will try linguini next time. I had a lot of chard so I increased everything. I used 1 lb of pasta, 6 c. chard leaves, 5 slices of thick cut bacon, 1/4 c parm, 1 1/12 c. ricotta, zest from 2 lemons plus juice from one, 1/4 t. italian seasoning, 2 shallots and chili flakes. I reserved the stems for another use and just used the chard leaves (because I had so much) so I wish I had cooked them with the bacon and shallots instead of blanching. Three adults ate all of this in one sitting. It was that good.
panania July 5, 2021
This was really great! I still have to work on the timing though. The blanching of the chard throws off the normal pasta dish flow. I suggest doing that first then starting the pasta then starting the sauce. That's how I'm going to do it next time. Also, for all that left over cheese you'll have, there's a really great recipe here for a Ricotta loaf cake by ASHONFIRE - The 2 compliment each other really well. Bon Appetit!
Merry July 5, 2021
Thanks for the tip - I always struggle with the remaining ricotta and this sounds delicious!
Patti April 28, 2020
This was outstanding. I didn't have shallots and roasted young spring onions, finishing Up the cooking of them in the bacon fat. Used 1/2 cup of whole milk ricotta which was a good choice vs the 1/3 c recommended. Used Aleppo pepper which was perfect. It did need some of the pasta water as I had to use brown rice spaghetti and it was a little dry. Swiss Chard was perfect, but any green would be good. Will definitely make again.
Beata April 14, 2020
Fantastic! Fast and easy, full of flavour. I doubled everything for 4 people and used gluten free spaghetti. Definitely will make it again
lois April 9, 2020
I made this the other night with two bunches of chard (so more than called for). It's very easy and very tasty. Still eating and enjoying the leftovers for lunch!
Anno B. October 9, 2018
Wonderful dish and so satisfying- I used (real) bacon bits as it was easier, and left out the ricotta. The rainbow chard adds great colour and the stems are delicious and crunchy. Added a few capers and grated my own parmesan to mix in. Will be making this again!
Heather O. July 8, 2018
Wow! This recipe is delicious. I followed as written, using freshly picked rainbow swiss chard from the farmers' market. Light and lemony. This will become a favorite.
catydid May 30, 2018
Vegetarian version - forget the bacon, use green garlic instead of shallot and a jalapeno for some punch, saute in giant cast iron skillet (no blanching- keep all those vitamins!). Add chopped chard stems, then the chard leaves to the skillet, then the ricotta mixture. Added a lot of lemon juice as well. Kept sauce separate from the pasta (linguini) to avoid soggy pasta leftovers. Added lots of extra parmesan on top. Super delicious!
NMPate April 28, 2018
Delicious. I used 8 oz of linguini, since I was out of spaghetti. I added about a tablespoon of lemon juice to bump up the lemony flavor and that went well with the dried red chili flakes. If you want a creamier sauce I would increase the ricotta cheese to 1/2 cup and Parmesan to 3tablespoons but if you want a lighter dish follow the recipe as written. I’ll make this again.
Merry January 2, 2017
What a delicious and forgiving recipe. We purchased some beautiful ricotta at our farmer's market yesterday and wanted to find a way to use it for dinner tonight. No chard, but we did have arugula and asparagus. Briefly steamed the asparagus and threw it in with the arugula just before adding the remaining ingredients. Wow - delicious!!! We will be making this again with chard and/or other green options.
Bir April 9, 2016
What are the calorper serving?
JUDITH December 28, 2015
what is the amount when described as 2 handfuls ? I'm not good at winging it.
glammie January 14, 2016
Add two handfuls and if you think it could use more, go ahead and add more. It's not an exact science and you don't have to adhere to the recipe perfectly. Does your family eat/like kale? Then put as much as you think they are prepared to eat! :)
katmccrane August 28, 2015
Has anyone else used this recipe as a guide to make the perfect pizza? I make the chard and ricotta mixture as suggested, then spread the chard on the dough and add the ricotta mixture in large spoonfuls. It's crazy good. Just like the original recipe!
NXL September 23, 2023
Good grief, that sounds fantastic!
hanachocho August 25, 2015
This has become a regular dish with some precooked lentils added in.
kara July 21, 2015
I tried this when my CSA box had so much chard I didn't know what to do with it all. I loved it and now make it all the time. I use thin spaghetti but only out of preference. It's easy to scale down - but blanch all your chard at once and shock whatever you aren't using, chop and freeze then this can be a super quick week night meal!
TheWimpyVegetarian August 4, 2015
Thanks so much, kara! In truth I make this all year round. It's so, so quick during the week!
Karen B. February 21, 2015
Very tasty dish. Made it with 4 strips of bacon and 3 Tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano (with extra for serving). Served it over my homemade fettuccine noodles. It's a great way to use Swiss chard.
Yazoolulu November 7, 2014
I made this tonight - quadrupled the recipe, left out the bacon and used double the shallots sauteed in butter. Such a delicious recipe. Everyone ate it all up!