1/2 pound dry long whole-wheat pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti
1 lb. Swiss chard
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 a cup of your favorite pesto recipe
Grated parmesan cheese, to taste (1/2 cup--optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. (“Salted” = throw a few pinches of salt in with the water.)
Rinse and drain chard, and cut the leaf away from the stem and center rib. Slice chard into 1″ strips. Add chard to boiling water, return water to boil, and let boil 10 minutes. Strain chard, but save this water for cooking pasta. Wring excess water from chard after it has cooled a bit. Use the remaining water in the pot by bringing it to a boil and cooking the pasta in it. Cook according to the package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
In another pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the sliced garlic and saute for a minute or two until golden. Then add chard, red pepper flakes, and salt. Add the reserved pasta water and cook everything in the pan until the water is reduced by half (2 tablespoons)
Lower heat and toss pasta with chard. Add pesto and parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Serve immediately.