1 generous bunch Swiss chard or 2 smaller bunches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 plump garlic cloves, minced or pressed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
1/2 cup low-fat milk
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup Arborio rice, cooked
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh or dry breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil while you clean the chard. Fill a bowl with ice water. Strip the leaves from the stalks, but hold onto the stalks. Wash the leaves in several rinses of water. When the water comes to a boil add the chard leaves andanch for about 1 minute, just until tender. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer them immediately to the ice water. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain, squeeze out the excess water and chop medium-fine.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Brush a 2-quart baking or gratin dish with olive oil.
Trim both ends off the chard stalks, then dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the diced chard stalks, diced red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender. Add the garlic, stir together for a minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant, and stir in the chard. Stir together for 30 seconds to a minute, just to blend the mixture and coat the chard with oil. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Stir in the chard mixture, the cheese, rice and thyme. Stir together, taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and drizzle on the remaining oil.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until firm and browned on the top. Remove from the heat and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can serve this warm or at room temperature.
Advance preparation: The blanched greens will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator in a covered bowl. The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 up to 2 days ahead. The finished recipe will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.