Meatless Monday: Pasta with beans and tomatoes

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Meatless Monday‘s triumphant return came in part to my abbreviate farmer’s market trip on Saturday. We had The Kid’s three-year-old birthday photos taken at 9 a.m., so the family trip was scrubbed in lieu of an express run. The Kid needed more cinnamon bread and she loves the product made by a local baker who only sells at the market.

And, as always, I was looking for something from Flour City Pasta. This week, they brought emmer radiatore to the market. Jon said that he no longer makes the emmer fettuccine (which was awesome) because it breaks so easily, so he only makes the rads and orzo. I grabbed a half-pound of it and figured I would do something with it later.

Later happened to be Monday.

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I like emmer primarily because it is loaded with protein (FCP’s pasta has 24g per 1/4 cup serving) and fiber (7g). It offered a highly nutritious, low-fat meal that came together for less than $10.

WHAT WORKED: Simplicity. If plum tomatoes were ripe, I would have gone with fresh. Otherwise, it’s fresh produce and herbs, pasta and good quality canned tomatoes.

WHAT DIDN’T: Me. I dumped the pasta before grabbing some of the cooking liquid. It was a little dry but really good.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Upon entering the kitchen, she demanded to know what smell was drawing her in. When I told her, she got a little giggly.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely, as long as Jon brings the emmer rads to the market.

IMG_3372Pasta with beans and tomatoes
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman at The New York Times

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
14-15 oz. can chopped tomatoes, with juice
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 sage leaves or basil leaves, cut in slivers (optional)
1/2 lb. pasta, any shape (JARED’S NOTE: I used emmer radiatore)
2-3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

IMG_3370In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and 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.

Increase the heat one measure on the knob and cook, stirring until the tomatoes are bubbling vigorously. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook gently, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir and mash the tomatoes often with the back of a wooden spoon until you are left with a thick, fragrant sauce.

IMG_3374Stir in the beans and the herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook al dente, following instructions on the box. Check about a minute before recommended 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 grated cheese.

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