Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

Our past experience with Pasta Fagiole (or Fagioli) has been as a bean and pasta soup. But at 20 Brix, they made it a true pasta dish. On a dark and stormy night, I tried to recreate that satisfying meal with ingredients I had on hand. Feel free to substitute onion for the shallot -- I had none of the former but a bit of shallot -- or omit the red wine if none is handy. (We had the remains of a bottle opened a couple of nights ago, no longer very good for drinking.)

Pasta with Beans, Sausage and Tomato (Pasta e Fagioli) Serves 2-3

2-3 T canola or olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 3-ounce Italian sausages made from turkey and/or chicken, cut into slices
2 cups cooked beans -- white beans or a mix of white and kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added, preferably)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups pasta, such as penne or rotini
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add sausage slices and continue to cook until shallot becomes translucent and sausage begins to brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in beans. Add tomatoes, seasonings and broth. Cover and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, until mixture starts to simmer.
Stir in spinach, cover and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water and drain.
Add pasta to the skillet.

Serve in bowls, passing cheese at the table.
This is a complete meal--add crusty whole grain bread and a glass of red wine!

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