Creamy Chard With Ricotta, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs

Creamy Chard With Ricotta, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs

A substantial vegetable casserole, this recipe can be a green vegetable side dish or a vegetarian main course. Though a bit of a job to put together, it is a crowd-pleaser.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    Wash chard in a deep basin of cold tap water. Remove stems and reserve for another purpose (chopped and added to vegetable soup, for instance). Chop or tear chard leaves into rough 2-inch pieces.
  2. Step 2

    Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Submerge chard, turning it so it cooks evenly, and simmer over medium heat, 1 minute or so. Drain and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Step 4

    Make a béchamel: Melt butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stir well and let mixture cook for a minute or so, without browning. Slowly add 2 cups half-and-half, ¼ cup at a time, whisking well as mixture thickens. Turn heat to low.
  5. Step 5

    Season sauce with a good pinch of salt, a little bit of nutmeg and a speck of cayenne. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. Consistency should be gravylike and not too thick — thin with more half-and-half as necessary.
  6. Step 6

    While the sauce cooks, squeeze the cooled chard dry, and, using a large knife, cut it into ½-inch slices. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with blobs of ricotta, evenly spaced.
  7. Step 7

    Pour or spoon warm béchamel over dish, covering everything evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil in a fine stream. Bake until bubbling and nicely browned, 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve hot or warm.