Spaghetti with Anchovies and Swiss Chard is a recipe that suggests what the Italian American Kitchen knew about food before certain tastes became trendy. This recipe knew about "umami' before any of us ever heard the word. "Umami" is the fifth taste. It's usually found in the complexity of Asian foods. But here is a contender. This is a very easy, savory and satisfying preparation. Don't be afraid of anchovies. The anchovies are the essential base of the "umami" taste.
My niece who is something of an ardent Manhattan foodie, but who does not cook, yet loves to eat, put me to the test. She asked me if I could come up with an umami dish for our family Christmas dinner. Well, I don't think this recipe would fit into our multi course Christmas dinner,but I do think it offers a distinctly flavored recipe.
The pasta provides the structure and foundation of this recipe. If you live in the Manhattan area you can find the very best at Buon' Italia in Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market carries Pasa Setaro, a brand made in the home land of pasta, Torre Annunziata. If not, try to find a meaty and solid Italian artisanal pasta that is made in Italy. There is simply nothing like it.
Then you need the anchovies. Anchovies certainly give a saltiness but they also add texture and mouth feel. When they break down the become rather creamy. The Swiss chard adds the slightly bitter undertone. And, as a green the chard offers an excellent source of greens.
Note that Swiss chard comes in more colors than green: everything from "rainbow" with leaves of yellow and red, to a Swiss chard that is almost blue black.
The Parmigianno (another source of umami) is the crown.
This is just so simply and perfectly good and satisfying.
What you need
A large pot for the spaghetti.
A good size pot for the chard. I find that a large wok is excellent for pasta sauces.
Pair of long handled tongs.
I lb package of spaghetti. (If you can, real Italian pasta from Torre Annunziata.)
For dressing the pasta:
Bunch of Swiss chard (This version was with "Rainbow.")
One tin of anchovies.
Garlic - at least 6 good sized cloves.
Parmigianno Reggiano Cheese - grated - a very generous cup.
One egg - beaten.
White wine ( one cup).
Black pepper - or - to your taste - red pepper flakes. ( I use one or the other, never both.)
Getting Started - The mise-en-place