I have been eating variations on this dish since I first read this Smitten Kitchen post that contained the revelation that you can blanch green vegetables at the same time that you cook pasta, thereby cutting the time between getting home and putting food into your body by half. However I did notice, at some point between the first and the 400th time that I made pasta + chard, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, etc, that sometimes this technique resulted in slightly soggy vegetables. But I finally cracked the code when I incorporated the Ottolenghi approach to chard, which is: you boil water, blanch the greens, run them under cold water to stop the cooking, then wring them out like a wet bathing suit until they are completely dry. I wouldn’t try this with some delicate little spring fronds, but for the overwintered and tough stuff you are likely finding in the farmer’s market right now — or for any chard, anytime, chard is hardcore — you can really squeeze it a lot and the leaves will keep their silky texture and the stems will keep a little tiny bit of crispness.
Ok, so, you can’t boil the greens and the pasta at the same time, but what you can do is cook them in the same water and that saves almost as much time. You just have to keep the leaves whole so that you can fish them out more easily. You can chop them finely after they’ve been chilled, drained and wrung out. Then while the pasta cooks, sautée the chopped greens in some chile-garlicked-up olive oil, and when the pasta’s done, combine it all with whatever cheese situation you have on hand. I used ricotta plus lemon zest and a tiny bit of mint and that ruled. I also spritzed on lemon juice at the end because I used this pasta and it kind of only tastes good if you put lemon on it for some reason. Wheat ish aside, quinoa-corn spaghetti is a boon to people like me who consider a box of dried pasta single serving size, because you can just plain eat a lot more of it without getting full. Healthy!