- Place a cold soup pot over medium heat. Add sliced bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon begins to crisp up, about 5 minutes. Drain off most of the excess fat with a paper towel if desired, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pot. Add onions, celery, and salt. Saute until and softened onions turn translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in black pepper, cayenne, dried thyme, dried oregano, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste starts to caramelize onto the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 more minutes. Stir in chicken broth and water and raise the heat to high. Bring to a simmer over high heat; reduce heat to medium and let simmer while you prep the Swiss chard.
- Remove chard leaves from tough stems. Gather a handful of leaves and slice across in one direction; turn and slice across again. Repeat with remaining chard. Place into a bowl and fill with water. Swish around to remove dirt; transfer washed greens a handful at a time to another bowl to drain.
- Stir the Swiss chard into the pot and simmer over medium heat until greens become tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
- Stir in the drained beans and raise the heat to high; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Once the pasta is tender, check the seasoning. Serve immediately in large bowls. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and red pepper flakes.
Chef’s Notes:Any kind of pork will bring you good luck. You can use pancetta, fresh pork, or pork sausage, if you like.A large head of Swiss chard, chopped, should yield about 4 cups. If prepping the chard ahead, let mixture simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the chopped greens.You can use any other shaped pasta that you like.If it gets too thick, you can add more broth.
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