We washed and dried the chard earlier today with our salad spinner. We stored the clean leaves in resealable plastic bags 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 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 pull the an 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 9 minutes for this shape of pasta), we place the garlic and oil pan back on medium heat and we add about half of the chard. We start wilting it down quickly, turning with tongs often, as we add the rest of the chard. We add a little salt and pepper and turn the heat off.
When the pasta is done, we drain it in a colander (first reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water in a measuring cup). We combine the pasta and the tomato pesto in the empty pot we used to boil the water. We toss to coat with tongs and mix in a little of the pasta water. We top each serving with some of the chard, the two cheeses, and some red pepper flakes, if desired.