Swiss Chard and Spinach Crostata with Fennel Seed Crust
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This delicious chard and spinach crostata, which looks quite impressive too, should be on the "to make" list of every food enthusiast. Love at first slice is guaranteed for all!
Recipe type: Breads and Savory Bakes
Serves: 8 to 10 slices
  • Fennel Seed Crust:
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional, but strongly recommended)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Up to ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ pounds total Swiss chard (stems cut into ¼-inch dice to equal about ½ cup and leaves sliced into ¼-inch ribbons) and spinach (stems cut into ¼-inch dice to equal about ½ cup and leaves sliced into ¼-inch ribbons) - you should have 15 loosely packed cups of chard and spinach ribbons TOTAL
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch of each - dried oregano, dried thyme, dried rosemary
  • 2 pinches of ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (whole or part-skim)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Make the fennel seed crust: Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, continuously stirring or shaking the pan, until the seeds are golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let them cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the fennel seeds, flour, salt, and Parmesan until just incorporated. Add the olive oil and stir with your fingers to combine. While stirring, pour in ½ cup of the ice water (no ice), then add more as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just begins to form a ball. It should be wet and smooth, but should not stick to your fingers. (Instead of using your hands and the bowl, you can do these steps in a food processor. I used my hands.)
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for about 30 seconds until it comes together fully. If it pulls apart and is dry and tough, add 2 tablespoons more water, and stir and knead again until just incorporated. Flatten the ball of dough just slightly and wrap it in plastic wrap; let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day in advance of assembling the crostata.
  4. Make the filling: Heat the olive oil in a big saucepan or a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chard stems and spinach stems and cook until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and spinach leaves (in batches if needed to fit the pan), salt, dried herbs, and nutmeg. Cook until the leaves have fully wilted and any liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes more. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  5. Assemble and bake the crostata: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. On a piece of parchment, flatten the crostata dough and roll it from the center outward with a lightly floured rolling pin. Turn the dough and parchment as you go to create a circular shape about 15 inches in diameter and a little less than ¼-inch thick. (Don't bother trying to make a perfect circle, but do try to even out the thickness of the dough.) Transfer the parchment and dough to a rimless baking sheet (the dough can hang over the edges for now.)
  6. In a small bowl, lightly beat 1 of the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash; set it aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat together the remaining eggs, then stir in the chard and spinach mixture, scallions, ricotta, and Parmesan to combine.
  7. Transfer the chard and spinach mixture to the dough, spreading it out evenly but leaving a border of about 1½ inches. You may think that the filling is too thick, but do not worry, it will shrink as it bakes and will be denser. Trim any dough edges that seem too long or thick. Gently fold the dough border up and over the filling, pleating it as you go. Brush the dough lightly with the egg wash.
  8. Bake the crostata until the crust is golden brown and the filling is firm in the center, 40 to 45 minutes . Slide the crostata, still on the parchment, onto a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini.
Recipe by AZ Cookbook at