Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Weekly Recipe: Creamy Tuscan White Bean Pasta

Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears.  Sometimes the most random thoughts pop into my head when I start a post.  I apologize.  I blame my A.D.H.D.

I made this pasta eons ago but as soon as I saw the picture, I was taken back to the creamy goodness of this dish.  I would have never thought to use evaporated milk in a pasta dish but lately I've been seeing it used a lot in creamy mac'n'cheese recipes.  The recipe says to cook until the sauce thickens slightly but mine never did.  Don't fret, you can control the consistency when you plate it.  I assure you the next day, you'll appreciate the extra sauce because the pasta soaks some of it up overnight.

I love beans just about anyway you give them to me and they were delicious tucked into the little whole wheat pasta shells.  I loved the Mediterranean taste of the dish with the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and roasted red peppers.  The only downside is that I had to come up with uses for the rest of the jar of tomatoes and red peppers, but that's a good problem to have!

Creamy Tuscan White Bean Pasta
from How Sweet It Is

2 cups whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup chopped pancetta (or bacon)
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fresh spinach (I only used about 2 cups)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (from a jar or fresh)
1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes
5-6 artichoke hearts, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 can (15 oz) skim evaporated milk
1/2 cup low-fat milk
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (or more depending on your taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil water and prepare pasta as directed on the package.

While water is boiling/pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Reduce heat in the skillet to medium-low and add onions, stirring to coat. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened, then add in garlic and spinach, stirring until the spinach wilts. Add in peppers, tomatoes, artichokes and beans, stirring to mix. By this time the pasta should be done, and you can drain it and add it to the skillet with everything else. Reduce heat to low and stir every few minutes while you make the sauce.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook until golden and fragrant. Add in milks, allow the mixture to come to a boil while stirring continuously, then reduce to a simmer and stir for another 5-7 minutes until it thickens a bit. Reduce to low and add parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Pour cream sauce into skillet over top of vegetables, pasta and beans, then add in bacon and basil. Stir to mix, then transfer to a large serving dish and eat!

Serves 4.


1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious! And I think even my picky two year old would eat it (or most of it). :-)