$5 Dinners: Pasta with Swiss Chard, Ricotta and Shiitake ‘Bacon,’ and Radicchio Side Salad

Summery Swiss chard and bright lemon are a great combination for transitioning pasta into warm weather. The radicchio side salad helps to balance out the pasta with a crisp and refreshing crunch. You can easily substitute the radicchio with another bitter green, if you so desire (think endive hearts or frisee). Simple and nourishing with healthy whole grains and dark leafy greens, this may soon be your weeknight dinner go-to.

Yield: 4 servings

For the salad:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 heads radicchio, halved and cored, shredded
2 ounces Manchego cheese, finely grated

For the pasta:

½ pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems removed
½ pound whole wheat angel hair pasta
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

To make salad:

In a small bowl, combine balsamic and sherry vinegars, and add red onion. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour

Strain onion, reserving onion and vinegar mixture separately.

Whisk honey, salt and pepper into vinegar mixture. While continually stirring, whisk in oil.

In a large bowl, combine radicchio with onions. Right before serving, toss salad with just enough dressing to coat lightly. Top with Manchego cheese.

To make pasta:

Preheat oven to 375F.

On a large baking sheet, toss mushrooms with olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Bake until crisp, stirring once, about 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Prepare a large bowl of ice water; set aside.

Add Swiss chard to boiling water and cook until softened but still vibrant green, 3-4 minutes. Transfer Swiss chard to ice bath (reserving pot of boiling water for cooking pasta). When cool enough to handle, roughly chop Swiss chard; set aside.

Add pasta to boiling water, and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain pasta.

Return pasta to pot and add shiitake ‘bacon’, Swiss chard, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and some of the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine; if pasta seems dry, add more pasta water. Taste and season with salt, if needed.