Combining beans and pasta has always seemed like a really great idea to me. Like the timeless combination that is beans and rice, beans and pasta strikes a great balance between carbs and protein - and, as are most things that have their roots in rustic Italian tradition, it's delicious.
This is sort of a not-very-saucy sauce, so those of you who like a higher proportion of sauce to pasta might want to double the diced tomatoes in this recipe, or even substitute a jar of store-bought marinara. It would still be great. This recipe makes quite a lot of pasta, too (see below), so I'd recommend halving it if you're not a big leftovers eater.
Otherwise, it's a great summer pasta recipe - fresh, healthy, not too heavy, and simple to make. I hope you experiment with it and come up with your own unique twist on this old world-inspired dish. (As always, you fans of meat would love this with grilled chicken or a host of other products from the farm.)
RED PEPPER & WHITE BEAN SAUCE AND WHOLE WHEAT RIGATONI
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 hot red chile pepper, seeded and ribs removed, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, in big chunks
1 can cannellini beans, drained and well rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1 small head broccoli, cut into smallish florets
juice of one lemon
fresh chopped basil
dash or two of balsamic vinegar
12 oz. whole wheat rigatoni
freshly grated parmagiano reggiano
more basil to garnish
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and red chile pepper until tender, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Add the red bell pepper and saute a few more minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir in the lemon juice and the balsamic vinegar.
Meanwhile, boil the rigatoni until almost al dente, reserving about a 1/3 c. cooking liquid.
Add the tomatoes with all juices, the beans, the broccoli, and the basil. Cover and cook until the broccoli is tender and the mixture is hot. Drain the noodles. Add the cooking water and noodles to the mixture. Cook until the pasta is al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Top with parmesan and more basil if desired. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading! More soon...