Tomorrow’s Meatless Monday and I’ve got a good one for ya! I first concocted this heavenly pasta dish five summers ago after we had visited family in Vermont. The scenery was uniquely beautiful – I am always awestruck by how gorgeous the North Country farmland is.
On our way back to New York, we stopped at a farm and bought a little tub of fresh sheep’s milk ricotta cheese. Like so many small farms, they work on the honor system – you just leave your money in a little jar and take what you need. I find it really refreshing to see a system based on trust that is working just fine.
I don’t usually wax poetic about cheese but this one was kind of special – pure white and so soft – it made me think of angels and sleeping newborn babies.
When we got back home, there was a ton of Swiss chard begging to be picked in the garden.
I thought it would be tasty to sautee some chard with onions and garlic, then mix it with the pasta, throw in gobs of this amazing cheese and top with some pine nuts, basil and a healthy dose of lemon zest.
I was right, it was dee-li-cious! Now I make this often. It’s quick, flavorful and filling – perfect for a Meatless Monday dinner.
Lemon-Scented Pasta With Swiss Chard & Ricotta
* 1 lb of pasta (use whatever you like)
* 1 large bunch chard, rinsed, dried, ribs removed, chopped and set aside, greens chopped into ribbons
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
* 1 tub (15 oz) ricotta cheese
* Zest of 1 large lemon (since you’re using the peel, I recommend using an organic lemon to avoid both wax and pesticides)
* A generous handful of pine nuts
* 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
* A pinch of red pepper flakes
* Sea salt to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 3 Tbsps olive oil
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta – once it boils add the pasta and cook until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsps olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add red pepper flakes, onions and chard ribs and sautee for around 4 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and sautee another 2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Toss in the chard greens, stirring well to combine with the hot mixture in the pan, and sautee until wilted and bright green – another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
3. Drain the cooked pasta, rinse quickly with cold water, then return to the pot or place in whatever serving dish you plan to use and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.
4. Add the chard mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Top with the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, basil and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
You might also like:
- How To Make Fresh Farmer’s Cheese
- Butternut Squash Ravioli With Browned Butter, Sage, & Pinenuts
- Capellini With Wild Ramp & Parsley Pesto