Before I lived in Boston, all I knew about Italian food was lasagna and spaghetti with meat sauce and variations thereof…which I ate then, and still eat now…

But, after being surrounded by all manner and method of Italian cooking for those short 2 years in Boston (seriously – if you’re ever in Boston, head to the North End), I came away with just the slightest bit of talent for what my family fondly remembers as “East Coast Italian.”

This recipe may not be perfectly authentic (it’s been 15 years since Boston!), but it is weeknight wonderful, fast, and my family always devours every bit. AND, it delivers a healthy punch. (You know how we LOVE our chard over here!)

Gather Up:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced (any kind you like)
1 large bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup dry white wine
Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
16 ounces spaghetti
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Wash the chard, and remove the thick rib.

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender. Then add the garlic and saute until it releases its fragrance.

Add the chard and saute until it wilts, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, the wine, and the red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer.

Cover and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the chard is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season the chard, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and a splash of olive oil. Stir carefully. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, stirring frequently, about 8-10 minutes depending on your pasta. Drain. Add to the chard mixture, and toss to combine.

Add Parmesan, and toss to combine.

Sprinkle the pine nuts, and serve!

Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.