Cook the Book: Cool Chard with Peppery Ricotta

Cook the Book: Cool Chard with Peppery Ricotta

[Photograph: Quentin Bacon]

In the winter, braised and roasted vegetables may be de rigueur, but chilled vegetables can be satisfying even in cold weather. If you're looking for something different, try this Cool Chard with Peppery Ricotta from Mario Batali's latest, Molto Batali.

Even though the chard is blanched and served cool, there's something quite hearty about a big bowl of greens dressed with bracing red wine vinegar and topped off with creamy nutmeg-scented ricotta. It's the kind of bright side that's welcome after a few weeks (or months) of roasted squash and root veggies, one that will wake you up instead of tucking you in. With a few slices of crusty bread, this cool chard makes a wonderful quick lunch, or for something more substantial, serve it with a wedge of frittata.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Molto Batali to give away this week.

Adapted from Molto Batali by Mario Batali. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ecco. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:serves 8 to 10 as a side
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes


  • Salt
  • 3 pounds red or white Swiss chard, leaves sliced into ½-inch-wide ribbons
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta, preferably sheep’s milk ricotta, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper


  1. 1.

    Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Set up a large ice bath nearby.

  2. 2.

    When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt. Drop the chard into the water and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Drain the chard and plunge it into the ice bath. When it has cooled, drain it well. Place the chard between two platters and press them together very firmly to release the excess water. Place the chard in a large mixing bowl, add the oil and vinegar, and toss. Season lightly with salt, and set in a cool place or in the fridge.

  4. 4.

    Mix the ricotta, nutmeg, and black pepper in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.

  5. 5.

    When ready to serve, arrange the chard on a wide flat platter and spoon 10 to 12 small dollops of the ricotta around it. Serve cool.