Pasta with Braised Fennel, Chard, and Balsamic Vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, bulb trimmed,halved,and thinly sliced (about 1 pound, fronds removed, minced, and 1 tablespoon reserved)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb spaghetti
1 lb red chard leaves, stems trimmed and leaves thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for passing at table
Heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat in large skillet.
Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté (uncovered) over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in sliced fennel bulb and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes.
Add 3/4 cup water and bring to simmer.
Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until fennel is tender and liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
Stir in vinegar, partially cover, and simmer to blend flavors, about 1 minute longer.
Add crushed red pepper flakes and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and pasta; return to boil.
After 3 minutes, add chard and return to rapid boil; continue to cook, covered, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.
Drain pasta and greens, reserving 1/3 cup pasta cooking water.
Toss pasta and greens with fennel mixture, cheese, and two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, adding reserved pasta water as needed if mixture is dry.
Transfer portions to warm pasta bowls.
Garnish with reserved minced fennel fronds.
Serve immediately with more cheese passed separately.