We washed and dried the chard on Sunday after we bought it at the farmer’s market. We stored the clean leaves in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge. We begin tonight by removing the chard from the fridge. We sort through the chard, removing any tough stems and then we chop it coarsely on a large cutting board, a third at a time. We also slice our garlic.
Next, we add the sliced garlic and 1.5 tablespoons of the olive oil to a pan over medium-low heat. We are just getting the garlic ready slowly while we wait for the meal to come together. The chard only takes a few minutes to cook. When the garlic is beginning to color slightly, we remove the “garlic chips” to a small plate, and set the pan aside, turning off the heat.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, we add some salt, and the pasta, and cook until al dente.
A few minutes before the pasta is ready (it takes about 13 minutes for this shape of pasta), we place the garlicky-oil pan back on medium-low heat and when hot, we add the chard. We wilt it down quickly, turning with tongs often. We add a little salt and pepper and turn the heat off.
When the pasta is done, we drain it in a colander. We combine the pasta and the rest of the olive oil in the empty pot we used to boil the water. We stir to coat and mix in 1 tablespoon of the cheese. We add a little more salt and pepper after we taste for seasoning. We top each serving with some of the chard, tomatoes, and some red pepper flakes, if desired.