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
raw Swiss chard, sliced (including the stems)
strips bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices or lardons
large shallot, minced
Olive oil, as needed
Zest from 1/2 lemon
salt, to taste
dried red pepper flakes
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.
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.
Fry bacon until just crispy. Add the shallot and saute until soft, adding olive oil if needed.
Add the Swiss chard and toss well to break up the chard clumps.
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.
Add cooked spaghetti, and some of the pasta water as needed.