Thursday, July 15, 2010

Swisschard and Ricotta Pie

When it's as hot as it has been in New York lately, my urge to eat and consequently, my urge to cook goes south. So, while we haven't been starving, many of our meals have been simple fare not very interesting to write about. Likewise, our daily life has been without consequence, a good thing but again, not very compelling to fill up a page. I actually began to feel a little guilty about it, especially after reading some of my favorite bloggers who somehow never fail to make new posts about the interesting food they eat. (You know who you are) So, while food shopping the other day, I was looking for a vegetable that may be a little unfamiliar to some of my readers. I settled on swisschard which I have written about before ,but I thought would be interesting for readers to see another adaptation of. Of course, the swisschard being relatively cheap, assured me that it was bountiful at this time and perhaps even local. So this recipe calls for garlic, red pepper, golden raisins, swisschard, about 10 ounces of ricotta cheese, approximately half a cup of parmigiana reggiano, one egg, 2-3 Roma tomatoes and a pie crust.

 First, it's necessary to deal with the swisschard. Make sure it is totally free of sand by soaking it in a large pot of cold water, then lifting it out of the water (not dumping it out with the water) and repeating the process again. You don't want to bite into this delicious pie and taste sand! Then, divide the swisschard into two piles of mostly stems and mostly leaves.

Now, chop the swisschard into manageable size at the same time discarding any browned pieces of leaf or stem. The stems take longer to cook then the leaves, hence the division. Don't throw away the stems! They have the same flavor as the leaves.

I cut up about 3 or 4 medium size cloves of garlic for that much swisschard and use about half with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for the stems. Wait for the garlic to start getting fragrant before adding the stems to the pan.

After adding the stems to the pan and salting them, I will cover them and let them steam at medium heat for 5-6 minutes.There should be a little water in the pan from the washed swisschard and the salted stems will release water while they cook, so resist the urge to check by removing the lid.

After 5 or 6 minutes, the stems will be tender. Now, dump the leaves on top of the cooked stems. Carefully, mix the two with a pair of tongs. The leaves will quickly wilt. When they do, add the remaining garlic, a handful of golden raisins, red pepper flakes to taste and a little salt. Cover and let the swisschard cook an additional 5 minutes.

Here is the swisschard fully cooked after 5 minutes. Both the leaves and stems should be uniformly tender. You can now either drain the swisschard in a collander, or use your tongs to remove it from the pan along with the garlic and raisins. Leave the small amount of water which the vegetable has released in the pan. Put the swisschard in a bowl and wait about 5 minutes till it cools.

To the cooled swisschard and raisins, add the ricotta cheese and mix to incorporate.

Next, add the egg and the grated parmigiana reggiano to the bowl and mix well.

Now, press  frozen or prepared pie dough into a 9inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Then, spoon the swisschard mixture into the tart pan.

Top with slices of plum tomato and bake for about 45 minutes till the center is set. Let the tart rest for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Then, carefully remove it from the pan and slice it into wedges.

Plate it with a nice salad and enjoy!


  1. Joe, I love everything about this, though I would have to omit the raisins. I only like raisins in my sweets or alone as a quick snack, sorry. I have been on the look out for swiss chard here as I have never had it but love leafy greens.

  2. Hi Carla,

    You know Sicilians love to put raisins in their food. It's a leftover from the occupation of the land by the Moors. I like it as a counterpoint to the red pepper, but of course, feel free to substitute with an herb or spice of your choice.

  3. Sounds absolutely delicious, tho keeping an oven on for 45 minutes right now is definitely NOT an option in this apartment. I'm sticking with fast sauté pan meals until September! But I will bookmark this recipe for then ;)

  4. Oh Joe, I love everything about this recipe! I like the addition of the raisins. I am a sweet and savory fan. I can't wait to try this!

  5. I feel exactly the same way about cooking when it is hot out...not interested! This looks like a delicious pie, I think Brian and I will have to have this for our next date night. Thanks for sharing Joe!

  6. Joe,

    It's not too hot to try your pie out here! I have spinach, no chard, (although I enjoy it very much), but thought that would be a great combo with your raisins...or craisins. Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks...for being so creative when it's cookin' outside!

  7. I love this pie. The chard makes it delicious and unusual. The recipe is well worth trying. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary