Thursday, November 10, 2016

Italian Pasta & Beans

The recipes of Rachel Roddy, a Rome-based food blogger and cookbook author, are noteworthy for their sheer doability. In this particular case, a simple technique of simmering pasta directly in a stew consisting of beans, garlic, rosemary, and tomatoes instead of just stirring in already cooked pasta made all the difference. However to do that enough flavoursome liquid is needed. She used the water from cooking dried beans. Since our larder only had canned ones, they along with dried porcini and the liquid in which the mushrooms were rehydrated went in the pot. Both crème fraîche  and Grana Padano were in our fridge so those were added also as finishing touches.

serves four

  • White beans, canned, about 660g (400 g drained) 
  • Olive oil, virgin, 5 T
  • Garlic, 2 fat cloves
  • Fresh rosemary, a few sprigs
  • Tomatoes, crushed/pulp (choose the best available, I used the brand, Cirio), 400 to 600g depending on desired consistency
  • Egg pasta, dried, small shapes (I used short, wide noodles), 220g
  • Porcini, dried, a small handful, and the water in which they were reconstituted
  • Crème fraîche, 2 T
  • Grana Padano, a large handful of shavings
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cover the porcini with hot water and let steep about ten minutes. Strain into a jug and repeat several times. Reserve the water. Coarsely chop the porcini.

Peel the garlic cloves and gently crush (I used a metal skimmer). In a medium-sized pot, warm the olive oil over a low flame and add the cloves. Stir for a couple of minutes or until fragrant and translucent.

Add the tomatoes, the rosemary, and the porcini. Simmer covered for ten minutes.

Add the rinsed, drained beans and several sloshes of the mushroom liquid and cook covered for another ten minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toss in the pasta and add mushroom liquid until . . .

. . . all is well covered.

Cook until pasta is tender, about ten minutes. Mix in the crème fraîche.

Top with the Grana Padano shavings.

Taking a little over thirty minutes to do, this dish was delicious, comforting, and satisfying. I loved the luscious chunks of tender garlic.

À la prochaine!

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