If you don’t have dry bread crumbs, put a slice or two of bread (or more, make extra for later use) in a 300ºF oven until dry and lightly browned (or lightly toast them). Break into pieces and whizz in a blender or food processor, or put into a sturdy plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
butter or oil, for greasing baking dish
1 – 2 bunches greens
1/2 c water or broth, if necessary
1 c broth, or as needed
1 c milk or half-and-half
4 T butter
1/4 c flour
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c ricotta cheese
3 T dry bread crumbs or toasted wheat germ
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (350ºF for oven-proof glass). Butter a 8- x 8- x 2-inch baking dish or casserole.
2. Wash greens; stem if necessary. Coarsely chop. In a large skillet over moderate heat, add greens by the handful, stirring them down as they wilt until all the greens are in. Add 1/2 cup water or stock if the greens seem dry, then cover skillet and braise for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Transfer greens to a bowl, leaving any liquid in skillet, and season greens with salt and pepper.
3. If there is any liquid in the skillet, carefully pour it into a measuring glass. Add enough stock to make 1 cup. Heat this and the milk or half-and-half in a saucepan, just until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.
4. In the skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the hot stock mixture all at once and stir or whisk until smooth. Increase heat some and cook until thickened. Don’t let boil. Stir in the grated Parmesan and ricotta. Stir the reserved greens into this cheese sauce and then pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and then the shredded mozzarella.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the mozzarella is melted and lightly browned. Serve immediately.