Thursday, December 9, 2010

Healthy quick dinner: Pasta with beans and tomatoes

From the NY Times health pages this week, a version of pasta fagioli that you can make any night of the week because all the ingredients should be in most folks' pantries -- canned tomatoes, canned white (cannellini) beans, dry pasta. It's a breeze, and a palate pleaser.

Recipe: Pasta with White Beans and Tomatoes (makes 4 servings)


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice

Pinch of sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 sage leaves or basil leaves, cut in slivers (optional)

3/4 pound pasta, any shape

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saucepan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir together until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with juice and a pinch of sugar. Raise the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are bubbling vigorously. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook gently, stirring and mashing the tomatoes often with the back of your spoon until they have cooked down into a thick, fragrant sauce, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the beans and the herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

3. When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook al dente, following the recommendations on the package but checking about a minute before the indicated time. When the pasta is just about done, check to see if the tomato sauce seems dry. If so, add up to 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the pan and stir. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and serve, passing the cheese for sprinkling.

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